Mediterranean, Black Sea fishing limits agreed for 2022

Published on
December 16, 2021
European Union fisheries ministers have agreed to commercial fishing opportunities for the Mediterranean and Black seas.

European Union fisheries ministers have agreed to commercial fishing opportunities for the Mediterranean and Black seas.

European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said the agreements are an important step toward reversing the deteriorating state of stocks in the regions.

The package will help deliver on the political commitments made in the new 2022 Strategy of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) to address the declining stocks, Sinkevičius said. He said he was pleased to see E.U. member-states remain committed to the continued implementation of the Western Mediterranean multiannual plan that was adopted in 2019, with the aim to ensure E.U. fisheries reach maximum sustainable yield by 1 January, 2025, at the latest.

“We all faced difficult but necessary choices that will lead us towards restoring the stocks to sustainable levels and ensuring the long-term social and economic viability for our fishermen and women operating in the region,” Sinkevičius said. “Furthermore, I am happy that in the Adriatic, we have put in place a comprehensive and coherent management framework with the recent adoption of the GFCM small pelagics multiannual plan and the implementation of the GFCM Adriatic demersal multiannual plan. These measures will set us on the right path to achieve our objectives of sustainably managed fisheries and profitable fleets in these sea basins.”

The Western Mediterranean plan reduces trawling fishing effort by a further 6 percent, and introduces new management tools in the form of catch limits for deep-water shrimp and an effort ceiling for longliners. The catch limits for the most overfished deep-water shrimp were necessary, Sinkevičius said, as scientific advice found effort reduction alone would not be sufficient to achieve MSY by 2025.

The measures will ensure the reduction of fishing mortality while minimizing the socio-economic impact on the fleets, Sinkevičius said.

The regulation also introduces new measures for the management of the small pelagic species and demersal stocks in the Adriatic, adopted by the GFCM this year.

For small pelagics, the proposal implements catch reductions of 5 percent for anchovies, and 8 percent for sardines for 2022, and a fishing capacity ceiling.

For the Adriatic demersal stocks, the regulation sets a 7 percent reduction in effort levels for demersal trawlers, and a 3 percent reduction for beam trawlers.

The regulation also continues the implementation of GFCM’s 2018 and 2019 measures for deep-water shrimp stocks in the Ionian and Levantine seas.

Black Sea quotas for turbot and sprats will remain at their 2021 levels.

Photo courtesy of Sven Hansche/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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