EU reaches agreement on catch limits
The Council agreed a roll-over in the EU total allowable catches (TACs) in the Black Sea for turbot and sprat (pictured) Photo: Wiki/Yuriy Kvach
EU ministers have reached an agreement on 2014 fishing opportunities in EU and non-EU waters and certain fish stocks in the Black Sea.
President of the Council, Vigilijus Jukna said that ministers reached a “balanced compromise” that allows for a number of stocks to reach maximum sustainable yield in 2015 “ensuring the sustainable use of fishery resources and vitality of fisheries”.
In short, Ministers have increased the number of stocks exploited at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) rate to 30. Where they did allow more catches, they were mostly only modest increases over the EU executive's original proposal.
There were some exceptions however, a 75% reduction in catches of Atlantic haddock was rejected in favour of a more modest 33% cut. Ministers also ignored a proposal to reduce herring catches in parts of the North Sea by almost two-thirds, preferring to maintain the quota at 2013 levels.
The Council also agreed to a compromise for the Black Sea – a roll-over in the EU total allowable catches (TACs) for turbot and sprat. But it says that control, monitoring and data collection measures will be reinforced and management approaches at the regional level developed to overcome illegal fishing.
Oceana meanwhile has expressed its disappointment over what it calls “Ministers’ incoherent decisions that do not close the breach between scientific advice and adopted catch limits.”
Xavier Pastor, executive director, Oceana in Europe, said: “It is regrettable that 46% of stocks will remain exploited beyond the sustainable limits recommended by scientists.”
He pointed out that this figure is similar to 2013 and warned that time is running out to meet the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) deadline for sustainably exploited fish stocks in a year's time.
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