EC proposes 2010 fishing quotas
The European Commission on Friday proposed fishing quotas for 2010, including a 25 percent reduction in four cod quotas.
In announcing the quotas, the EC said Europe's fish stocks continue to recover, albeit slowly. The number of overfished stocks fell from 32 out of 34 last year to 30 out of 35 this year, while the number of fisheries recommended for closure dropped from 24 to 17. However, the status of some 57 stocks is unknown due to insufficient data.
"We have worked hard to make sure our proposals are sound, workable and sensible," said EC Fisheries and Marine Affairs Commissioner Joe Borg. "I know that many professionals in the fisheries sector are keen to see fish stocks exploited sustainably. This will benefit both the fishing industry and society as a whole."
Cod stocks are of particular concern to EC scientists, with populations in the North Sea, eastern English Channel and Skagerrak (a strait north of Denmark) taking "a turn for the worse" in 2008, when a greater proportion of the stock was caught than in any year since 1999. What's more, since 2005 there have been too few older, spawning fish and young fish in the stock to sustain the fishery.
As a result, EC scientists on Thursday recommended a 25 percent cut in four cod quotas, the largest of which would be slashed from 4,023 metric tons in 2009 to 3,017 metric tons in 2010.
The news comes just a few days after Norway and Russia set their Barents Sea cod quota at 607,000 metric tons for next year, up from 546,000 metric tons this year.
EC scientists also proposed a 54 percent cut in western Scotland's haddock quota, to 1,600 metric tons; a 31 percent reduction in the eastern English Channel sole quota, to 3,650 metric tons; a 30 percent cut in the Norway lobster quota around Ireland to 17,160 metric tons; and a 90 percent reduction in three spiny dogfish quotas, which can only be used for bycatch.
For another 50-plus stocks, quota cuts of 15 percent or less were proposed.
EC fisheries ministers will finalize the 2010 quotas at their 14 to 15 December meeting.