Reaction to Fish Council outcomes

Fishing quotas for 2015 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea have been decided. Credit: Osvaldo Gago/CC BY-SA 3.0 Fishing quotas for 2015 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea have been decided. Credit: Osvaldo Gago/CC BY-SA 3.0

Fishing quotas for 2015 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea were decided at the EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council on Tuesday – and have received a mixed reaction from the industry.

A full table of the quotas can be found here.

"The CFP has passed its first real test with the unanimous support of all of the Member States,” said Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. “We have succeeded in increasing the number of stocks that are now managed at sustainable levels and sustainably managed stocks are now a broadly accepted concept.”

However, Greenpeace UK Oceans Campaigner Ariana Densham disagrees, stating, “It is unacceptable that many of the fishing quotas agreed today will fail to end overfishing. Fisheries Ministers have ignored the science and given little justification for postponing action to recover fish stocks.”

The UK government believes that a fair deal for UK fishermen has been achieved, which strikes the right balance between supporting business and conserving fish stocks, and said that the decisions were based on three clear principles: following the available scientific advice, achieving sustainable levels of fishing and reducing discards.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) said that the agreement on quotas brings some stability for the Scottish fleet – although huge fears remain over the potential impact of the discard ban.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF said, “Fishermen hate having to discard and throw perfectly good fish over the side, but we have real fears that the landing obligation will be implemented in a way that will lead to unnecessary damage to the industry. Unbelievably, the present regulations which force fishermen to discard fish – such as the ‘minimum landing size’ rules - remain in force and there is no legal certainty over whether these regulations or the new ones will prevail.”

He said that the introduction of a revolution in fisheries management has no proper legal foundation, and that it is essential that this is corrected over the coming months – and certainly before the introduction in 2016 of the discard ban for complex mixed fisheries.

Javier Garat, President of Europeche said, "I welcome the fact that the Council have finally reached a decision on next year's fishing opportunities, the first time since tough new rules on MSY targets were introduced in the CFP reform.”

He said that the Council has tried to bring a degree of common sense to the “exaggerated Commission proposals”, however, “with phase one of the discard ban but two weeks away, this will be a challenging period, but I welcome the Council's pragmatic approach to ensure an acceptable outcome for our fishermen."

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