EU fisheries chief pushes for sustainable Baltic, Mediterranean fisheries

Published on
October 11, 2016

Fisheries ministers from the EU are meeting during the AGRIFISH Council in Luxembourg, 10 to 11 October 2016, to discuss the Baltic fishing opportunities for 2017.

At this meeting, Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will present a European Commission's (EC’s) fisheries proposal tabled on 29 August, and urge ministers to set fishing opportunities at sustainable levels.

Vella will stress that decisive action is needed, in particular for western cod, which he said is experiencing a "perilous decline."

The EC's proposals are based on the scientific advice received and are in line with the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the recently adopted Baltic multiannual fisheries management plan.

In addition, the commissioner will discuss with ministers the annual meeting of intergovernmental fisheries organization ICCAT, which will take place 14 to 21 November in Portugal. In particular, he will draw attention to “the alarming state” of Mediterranean swordfish, which is greatly overfished and he will highlight the need for a recovery plan to reduce the pressure on the stock, according to a press release.

As a major player in this fishery, with around 80 percent of total catches, the EU has the responsibility to propose effective action to reverse the situation of this emblematic stock, said the EC in its statement.

The EC added that the socio-economic situation of the fisheries confirmed the need for urgent action to save jobs.

“The cost of inaction will mean the loss of over 1,000 vessels and thousands of jobs in the next years – with the impact felt mostly by small-scale coastal fisheries,"  it said.

Finally, the commissioner will also participate in an exchange of views on the EU-Norway annual consultation in the framework of their bilateral fisheries agreement. The first round of consultations with Norway on fisheries arrangements for 2017 will start in early November.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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