Fisheries Council begins today

15 Dec 2011
The December Fisheries Council begins today. Credit:  Daplaza

The December Fisheries Council begins today. Credit: Daplaza

The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will meet in Brussels today and tomorrow, chaired by Marek Sawicki, Polish Minister for Agriculture & Rural Development.

Fisheries issues to be dealt with include fishing opportunities for 2012, the Atlantic and the North sea, the Black Sea, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

Fishing opportunities for 2012
Commissioner Maria Damanaki will present the Commission's proposals for fixing fishing opportunities for 2012 for the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Black Sea. Ministers will discuss these proposals with a view to reach political agreement so that the limits can enter into force on 1 January 2012.

Atlantic and North Sea
One Commission proposal concerns the main commercial stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea managed by the EU exclusively. The Commission proposes to increase the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for nine stocks (certain stocks of cod, anglerfish, herring, haddock, hake, sole, megrim and Norway lobster) and reduce it for 53 stocks. For cod in the West of Scotland, the Irish Sea and the Kattegat, the Commission proposes that no fishing takes place in 2012, given the poor state of these stocks.

The proposed changes would amount to an overall reduction in TACs (by weight) of 11% compared to 2011.

Ministers will also discuss the proposal concerning fish stocks managed together with third countries such as Norway or through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), such as the North-Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO).

Black Sea
Bulgaria and Romania are the only Member states concerned by the proposals for fishing opportunities for the Black Sea. The Commission proposes to cut the EU quota for turbot by 15%, to 74t and keep the EU quota for sprat unchanged, at 11,475t.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
Commissioner Damanaki will present the Commission's proposal for a new financial instrument, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The Fund will help deliver the ambitious objectives of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and will help fishermen in the transition towards sustainable fishing, as well as coastal communities in the diversification of their economies. The fund will finance projects that create new jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts. A discussion with exchange of views will follow.

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