A two-day long intensive negotiation finished this very morning with the difficult political compromise reached by EU Fisheries ministers on the catch limits for 2020. This agreement reconciles to objective to secure healthy stocks with the need to ensure the socio-economic sustainability of the EU fleet. The latter was acknowledged by the Council which, after a predominantly conservationist proposal from the European Commission, adopted a better-balanced decision in light of the socio-economic data provided by Member States. The industry will however face many challenges for next year due to the extreme quota reductions and restrictive measures adopted for key species such as cod in all EU waters.
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.
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 Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) has recently published its annual report on the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as regards the progress on the situation of the fish stocks and exploitation levels. Decades of self-sacrifice is returning our fisheries to greatness, since the report clearly shows that stocks status is significantly improving. It also reflects an overall downward trend in the fishing pressure. However, additional efforts are still needed, particularly in the Mediterranean.
In the early hours, after two-day intensive negotiations, the Fisheries Council has reached an agreement over the fishing opportunities for 2017 based on the objective of achieving maximum sustainable yields (MSYs) by 2017 where possible, and by 2020 at the latest, while taking into consideration duly justified socio-economic factors.
In advance of the December Fisheries Council 2016, EAPO and Europêche have sent a joint position paper with general observations and relevant recommendations for about 25 stocks to the Council Members. As such the fishing industry is calling on the Council of Fisheries Ministers not to take the time table towards Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) as a dogma, but to apply a pragmatic and common sense approach to reaching the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) objectives.
The International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has just published its catch quota recommendations on the Bay of Biscay (including the Iberian Coast), Celtic Seas and the Greater North Sea for 2016. These figures, based on scientific stock assessments, show significant increases for key species for 2016 with many stocks having shown clear signs of recovery. The scientific data presented reflects a positive long term trend of increasing fish populations and a reduction of fishing mortality across many areas. This clearly indicates that long-term management plans and consequent management over the years have been successful.