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Fisheries: Commission proposes fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2012

Commission Européenne - IP/11/1033   15/09/2011

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European Commission - Press release

Fisheries: Commission proposes fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2012

Brussels, 15 September 2011 - The European Commission today tabled its proposal on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2012. Based on scientific advice, the Commission proposes to increase TACs (total allowable catches) for both stocks of Baltic cod as well as for two stocks of herring (Western and the Gulf of Bothnia). Decreases for the remaining stocks, in particular salmon, are deemed necessary, given the poor state of the fish stocks in question. The Commission also proposes to limit the number of days at sea for fishing vessels, to the levels established last year. The overall aim of the proposals is to make fisheries in the Baltic Sea environmentally and economically sustainable by following the recommendations of scientists.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki said: "This proposal takes care of the Baltic Sea fish stocks to preserve them for the benefit of current and future generations. We are trying to manage them in a responsible manner in line with the principles of our reform. Reaching our targeted Maximum Sustainable Yield will lead not only to healthier fish stocks, but also to better income and more jobs for the fisheries sector."

The Commission's proposal follows scientific advice from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF) and from International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The Baltic Sea Regional Advisory Council (BSRAC) has been consulted on this proposal, on the basis of the Commission's Consultation document from May (IP/11/638).

The present proposal shall be discussed by the member states' ministers at the October Fisheries Council.

Background

Cod

The Commission proposes to increase by 15 % (to 67 850 tonnes) the TAC for eastern Baltic cod and by 13% (to 21 300 tonnes) the TAC for western Baltic cod. These increases are possible because the long term management plan for cod in place since 2008 has helped to reduce fishing pressure to sustainable levels and has given stocks the time to replenish.

Herring

The Commission proposes to increase the TAC for the Western herring stock by almost one third (to 20 900 tonnes) and to slightly increase the TAC for the Gulf of Bothnia herring (by 2% to 106 000 tonnes). On the other hand, the central and Gulf of Riga herring stocks are not sufficiently recovered. Therefore the Commission proposes to reduce the TACs for these stocks by 33% and 21% respectively.

Salmon

To recover salmon populations to sustainable levels1 , the Commission proposes to reduce the TAC for the main basin by almost 80% and by almost 30% for the Gulf of Finland stock. The proposed reduction is in line with the scientific advice received. The Baltic salmon management plan, proposed by the Commission on 12 August 2011, will hopefully help to improve the status of the stock.

Sprat

The Commission proposes to reduce the TAC for sprat by 26%, to 213 110 tonnes.

Plaice

There are no scientific data on the size of the plaice stock. Because it is not known what catch would be sustainable, the Commission decided to take a cautious approach and to propose a 25% reduction in the TAC until more data can be collected and the proper catch level can be determined. This is in accordance with the internally-agreed precautionary principle.

More information:

TACs and quotas: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/fishing_rules/tacs/index_en.htm

Scientific advice:

http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/fishing_rules/scientific_advice/index_en.htm

Multiannual plan for the Baltic cod:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32007R1098:EN:NOT

Proposal for the multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52011PC0470:EN:NOT

Table: Overview of TAC changes 2011-2012 (figures in tonnes unless specified)

Stock

ICES fishing zone subd.

TAC proposal 2011

TAC 2011

TAC proposal 2012

Eastern Cod

Sd 25-32

58 957

58 957 (-)

67 850 (+15%)

Western Cod

Sd 22-24

18 800

18 800 (-)

21 300 (+13%)

Western Herring

Sd 22-24

15 884

15 884 (-)

20 900 (+32%)

Bothnian Herring

Sd 30-31

91 000

104 369 (+14%)

106 000 (+2%)

Riga Herring

Sd 28.1

32 660

36 400 (+11%)

28 878 (-21%)

Central Herring

Sd 25-29, 32

91 640

107 420 (+17%)

72 178 (-33%)

Plaice

Sd 22-32

3 041

3 041 (-)

2 281 (-25%)

Main Basin Salmon

(Expressed by number of individual fish)

Sd 22-31

250 109

250 109 (-)

52 974 (-79%)

Gulf of Finland Salmon

(Expressed by number of individual fish)

Sd 32

15 419

15 419 (-)

10 884 (-29%)

Sprat

Sd 22-32

265 969

288 766 (+8%)

213 110 (-26%)

Contacts :

Oliver Drewes (+32 2 299 24 21)

Lone Mikkelsen (+32 2 296 05 67)

1 :

Known as MSY = maximum sustainable yield


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