Today, the Fisheries Council has reached an agreement on the fishing opportunities in the Atlantic, North Sea, the Mediterranean and Black Sea for 2021, and for deep-sea stocks for 2021 and 2022. The catch limits are set in the background of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the COVID-19, for which this and next year will be one of the most difficult periods for EU fishers. Despite the Council’s efforts to mitigate the predominantly austere proposal from the European Commission, the fishing industry is still left with several quota reductions and restrictive measures adopted concerning key species for the livelihoods of many fishermen and women in the sector.
This was one of the main results from the European Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) annual report1 on the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), particularly concerning the progress towards achieving sustainable fisheries. The scientific report shows that the stock status has significantly improved in the North-East Atlantic with an overall downward trend in the fishing pressure over the period 2003-2017. As a consequence, fish populations have been generally increasing since 2007, reaching in 2017 levels 36% higher than in 2003. However, further efforts are still needed, particularly in the Mediterranean.