Oceana responds to Baltic TAC proposals

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) © OCEANA/Carlos Minguell Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) © OCEANA/Carlos Minguell

In response to the European Commission’s proposal on fishing opportunities for the main commercial fish stocks in the Baltic Sea, Oceana has applauded the Commission for its proposals being mainly in line with the aim of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

However, the organisation has expressed disappointment that the Commission has postponed its proposal for the Eastern cod stock, which according to scientists is suspected to be decreasing and is known to mostly consist of small and weak individuals. 

The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) has this year been unable to properly estimate the status of the Eastern Baltic cod stock and has advised that catches should remain low out of precautionary reasons. But the Commission has not proposed a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) according to this advice and has postponed its proposal on cod until later this month.  

“Oceana applauds the Commission for sticking to the ambitions of achieving long-term sustainable catches for most stocks in the Baltic Sea in line with the reformed CFP. However, it is disappointing that the Commission has chosen to postpone its proposal for the Eastern cod stock. Given its vulnerable condition, it is our hope that the Ministers will apply a precautionary approach when setting catch limits for this stock in October”, said Hanna Paulomäki, Baltic Sea project manager.  

The Commission has proposed cuts in TACs for salmon which Oceana sees as a step in the right direction, considering the “poor status of salmon populations in the Baltic Sea”.  

Oceana’s main recommendation’s on 2015 fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea are to:

  • Set Total Allowable Catches with the aim of restoring fish stocks to levels capable of producing Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2015
  • Ensure a low exploitation rate on the Eastern cod stock to allow it to recover, and move fishing effort for sprat and herring - the main food for cod - from areas where cod is feeding
  • Stop open sea fisheries on mixed salmon stocks

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