Record number of these EU stocks to be fished sustainably

Published on
September 3, 2015

Seven of the 10 main commercial stocks in the Baltic Sea will be fished within the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) from 1 January 2016 if the European Commission’s latest annual proposal on fishing opportunities is adopted next month at a meeting of the Fisheries Council in Luxembourg.

If the proposal is approved, the Baltic would have more stocks fished at a sustainable level than ever before.

The Commission has proposed the total allowable catch (TAC) for all stocks, except salmon, would be set at 565,692 metric tons (MT), a decrease of 15 percent compared to 2015. The catch limit for salmon, which is measured in fish rather than tonnes, would increase by 6 percent to 115,874.

The Commission has proposed raising the catch limits for herring in the Western and Central Baltic to 24,797 MT and 177,505 MT, respectively. At the same time, the Baltic Main Basin salmon TAC would increase by 10 percent to 105,850 fish and the plaice TAC would increase by 18 percent to 4,034 MT. These TACs are deemed to be within MSY.

Also to remain within MSY, there are proposed TAC reductions for Bothnian Sea herring (down by 35 percent to 103,254 MT), Riga herring (down 21 percent to 30,623 MT) and sprats (down 14 percent to 184,336 MT).

In line with advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Commission has proposed a decrease in the TAC for salmon in the Gulf of Finland by 24 percent to 10,024 fish and the TAC for Eastern Baltic cod by 20 percent to 41,143 MT.

Meanwhile, data showed that Western cod stocks are overfished and have fallen below sustainable biological limits. The Commission said it therefore expected member states within the Fisheries Council to agree on effective and adequate additional measures in order to improve the status of the stock. As the Commission is still awaiting additional data from ICES, it has not yet proposed a quota for this stock.

The EU aims to achieve MSY for all fish stocks by 2020 at the latest.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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