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.
The European Commission has today proposed recommendations on fishing opportunities for the Atlantic and the North Sea for 2016. The proposal sees the quota for 35 stocks unchanged or increased and 28 stocks reduced. This will also be the first time we will see quota uplift which aims to compensate fishermen for any extra fish they will have to land under the second phase of the landing obligation which will enter into force in January 2016. These so-called 'top-ups' will be proposed later this month. The proposal only includes figures for about half of the TACs since negotiations with third countries and RFMOs are still ongoing.