In the early hours, the Fisheries Council reached an agreement on the catch limits for 2019; just two weeks before the latest and toughest phase of the landing obligation comes into effect. Following a fairly conservationist proposal from the European Commission (EC), which proposed for certain stocks even lower levels of quota than recommended by scientists, Ministers adopted a better-balanced decision that will allow to catch more fish while respecting the sustainability of the stocks in the long term. The positive results yielded, thanks to the sacrifices made by the industry over the past decade, may be however compromised by the quick fixes and patches adopted to try to implement an ill-conceived landing obligation for the complexities of the European waters.
Today, a delegation of fishing representatives from Europêche met with Mr Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries to discuss the main topics at the top of the political and legislative fisheries agenda in the EU. Both Commissioner Vella and Europêche credited the great progress in achieving sustainable fisheries with already 97% of the landings in the North East Atlantic coming from EU managed stocks fished at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) levels. The sector showed support to Commissioner Vella to continue proposing the necessary legislation to implement the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), however called for rational policies which take into consideration socio-economic aspects and that can be implemented in practice.
After two-day intensive negotiations, this very morning the Fisheries Council has reached a long-awaited agreement over the fishing opportunities for 2018. Following a particularly conservationist proposal adopted by the European Commission (EC) for certain stocks, Ministers adopted a better-balanced Regulation in light of the socio-economic data provided by Member States. The ambitious agreement will increase the number of stocks fished at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) levels to 53 next year, compared to only 5 in 2009. The new text also introduces strong measures to improve the state of seabass and eel stocks.
The European Commission (EC) released last week its annual proposal for fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea 2018. With this proposal, the EC intends to ban for the first time all marine eel commercial and recreational fisheries in the EU waters of the Baltic Sea for 2018. This radical measure comes as a surprise to fisheries associations which were not previously consulted. Such a prohibition would hit particularly small-scale fishers that are critically dependent on this species.