TACs proposed for Atlantic and North Sea

24 Oct 2012
Norway lobster is at MSY level

Norway lobster is at MSY level

The European Commission has proposed fishing opportunities for 2013 for certain stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea, for stocks managed exclusively by the EU.

The Commission has proposed to increase or maintain the TACs for 16 stocks (including certain stocks of cod, Norway lobster, and sole), and reduce them for 47 stocks, in line with scientific advice.

This year MSY advice could be issued for 20 stocks (compared to 12 last year), which is a marked improvement.

According to scientific advice, Norway lobster in the West of Scotland, plaice in the Eastern Channel, cod and sole in the Celtic Sea, and sole in the Western Channel are at MSY levels and the Commission proposes to raise or maintain their TACs.

At the same time, cod stocks in the Irish Sea and the Kattegat continue to be in a poor state, and the poor data hampers the management of these stocks. Sole in the Irish Sea is at extremely low levels and the Commission proposes to stop the direct fisheries and minimise bycatch. MSY advice for haddock in the Celtic Sea and sole in the Bay of Biscay demands considerable TACs cuts, so that the stocks can be brought to MSY levels. Cod and whiting in the West of Scotland, subject to extremely high rates of discarding, continue to be in a very poor state and well below safe levels.

For more than 30 stocks where data is limited, the Commission has followed the direction recommended by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), and proposed cutting the TAC by 20%, in light of recent trends observed in these stocks, and on precautionary considerations.

For 13 stocks the scientific advice has been recently received and needs to be further analysed before the proposal can be updated, later in the autumn.

Oceana has welcomed these proposals. Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana Europe said,“The European Commission has taken a step in the direction of sustainability, by proposing catch limits that mostly follow the MSY and precautionary approaches. We hope that the Council will continue on this path, and not change course in favour of the short-term economic interests that have prevailed in recent decades.”

The full table of proposals can be viewed on the Commission’s website.

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