EC: Improvements for some fish stocks
The European Commission has set out its intentions for fixing fishing opportunities for 2013, which it says shows that improvements made to end overfishing are working.
There are now 20 fish stocks which are known not to be overfished, compared to only five stocks in 2009. Reducing TACs in previous years has made it possible to increase some TACs for 2012, which could result in at least €135 million extra income for the fishing industry.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki stated: "We are now seeing some improvements towards ending overfishing, but we need to go the extra mile and adopt the CFP reform if we want to guarantee these improvements in the long term."
The Commission's view is that for next year, for stocks covered by long-term management plans, TACs and effort levels should be fixed according to the plans in force (a legal requirement). For fish stocks not covered by the plans, TACs should be based on scientific advice, with a goal to phase out overfishing by 2015 (or earlier) wherever possible. Where no advice exists, the precautionary principle should be applied.
The Commission says that better data is available today - whereas in 2009 there were 57 stocks subject to TACs in the northeast Atlantic without scientific advice, a drastic improvement in 2012 to possibly as little as 10 to 12 stocks is expected.
For the fish stocks where scientific assessment can be carried out, the state of stocks has improved over the last years. In the northeast Atlantic and nearby seas, overfished stocks fell from 32 out of 34 stocks in 2005 to 18 out of 38 stocks in 2012, i.e. from 94% to 47%. In the Mediterranean, sufficient data exists for 63% of stocks. Out of these, 80% are overfished.