Small-scale fishermen lose out
Europêche has hit back at Commission's proposed cuts to Baltic Cod
Europêche has hit back at the Commission’s 2017 proposals for Baltic cod allocations, which sees an 88% decrease from last year’s figures.
The newly proposed quota for Western Baltic amounts to 1588 tonnes which is an immense reduction from 2016 and a reduction of nearly 40% for the Eastern stock.
Javier Garat, President of Europêche, stated: "The number of active fishing vessels in the Danish Baltic fleet has been continuously reduced in the last 15 years from around 700 to just 200 vessels, the majority belonging to the small scale fleet who will feel the biggest impact from these potential cuts, leading to a certain collapse of local fishing communities."
According to Europêche, the problem is not the stock but the way the advice has been assessed. The assessment now includes advice for recreational fishermen, who are not actually regulated by the Common Fisheries Policy, but have been offered the lion's share of the quota.
Europêche also argues that the Western Baltic cod stock has never been above Btrigger level due to a whole host of reasons including environmental, natural fluctuations and salinity levels.
There is substantial migration between subdivisions 24 and 25 meaning it is extremely difficult to consider the stock as two separate stocks. This must be taken into account when taking decisions on quota allocations.
Garat continued: "With a fairer and manageable decrease, we can still increase stock biomass and still be in line with the Baltic plan. Instead, small-scale fishermen have been sacrificed on the altar of fundamentalist MSY at the expense of vulnerable, coastal communities."
The representative body for European fishermen believes that the socio-economic effects of these proposals would have disastrous consequences on many small harbours.
After the termination of the industrial fishery for herring and sprat, these communities are totally dependent on fishing for cod, plaice, flounder and dab.
Therefore, Europêche believe it is not only fishermen themselves who would be affected but the entire supply chain.
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