Baltic Sea management endangers fisheries
Oceana has released a report on the “disappointing” state of the fisheries management in the Baltic Sea.
The report exposes a number of unsustainable fishing practices, both legal and illegal, that persist despite the ongoing efforts to achieve a thriving and sustainable fishing industry in the region.
The organisation says that many of the current measures are inadequate to ensure the long term viability of the sector and the marine environment. It says that 80% of commercially caught stocks in the Baltic Sea and the Kattegat lack basic management plans.
“It is irrational that out of over 50 species which are commercially caught in the Baltic Sea and Kattegat, only 10 have been given scientific advice, and only five of those are managed using Total Allowable Catches (TAC),” said Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana Europe. “Moreover, scientific advice is steadfastly ignored. The TAC for salmon, for example, which is a threatened and declining species, was set twice as high as recommended.”
Baltic Sea countries have committed themselves to a number of actions to restore the status of the sea including achieving by 2015, Maximum Sustainable Yield levels (MSY) for all fish stocks – which means the largest catch that can be taken from a species over an indefinite period without reducing the size of the stock. Another commitment requires them to reach Good Environmental Status (GES) of all marine environments by 2020.
Among many other issues, IUU fisheries are still a concern particularly in salmon and sea trout fisheries in the Baltic Sea, and in cod fisheries in the Kattegat.
- More stringent monitoring, control and surveillance in all Baltic Sea countries
- Improved selectivity of fishing gear and the cessation of destructive fishing practices, like bottom trawling and dredging, to prevent both detrimental effects on the sea bottom as well as bycatch and discards
- The inclusion of recreational fisheries catches, which are currently mostly unmanaged and not included in quotas, into management plans and reporting requirements
- Strict fisheries management measures both inside and outside marine protected areas, to safeguard not only fish stocks, but the entire Baltic Sea ecosystem, the fishing industry, fishing communities and fishermen