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European Commission - Press release
Fisheries: Commission proposes fishing opportunities for 2012 for EU fish stocks in the Atlantic and North Sea
Brussels, 27 September 2011 - The European Commission presented today its first proposal for 2012 fishing opportunities for certain stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea. Today's proposal sets levels of total allowable catch (TAC) and fishing effort for the fish stocks managed by the EU exclusively, and not for stocks managed with third countries. Based on scientific advice, the Commission proposes to increase the TAC for 9 stocks (certain stocks of cod, anglerfish, herring, haddock, hake, sole, megrim and Norway lobster) and reduce it for 53 stocks. For cod in the West of Scotland, the Irish Sea and the Kattegat, the Commission proposes that no fishing takes place in 2012, given the poor state of these stocks. The proposed changes would amount to an overall reduction in TACs (by weight) of 11% compared to 2011. The Commission's goal is to set TACs at science-based levels which help recover the stocks and make fisheries sustainable in the long term.
Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "our proposal's cornerstones are long-term management of stocks and reliable scientific data to base our decisions on, in line with our proposed reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. This reform will deliver a fisheries policy fit for the future, based on viable fish stocks which will assure fishermen a decent income."
The proposed catch limits are based on the scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). Stakeholders were also consulted on the basis of the Commission's Consultation document from May (IP/11/638).
The Commission's ultimate aim is that all stocks are fished at sustainable levels, the so-called Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), by 2015 – a commitment that the EU made to the international community, and which is also a key pillar of the proposed CFP reform.
To help achieve MSY by 2015, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has started to frame its scientific advice with this goal in mind, whenever possible. Also, multi-annual management plans are being put in place for all major commercial stocks. Stocks managed in this way tend to fare better than those subject to short-term decision-making.
The present proposal concerns only the 83 stocks for which the TACs are decided by the EU alone, and is scheduled to be discussed by the member states' fisheries ministers at the November Fisheries Council.
A second proposal will deal with the 66 stocks for which the fishing opportunities must be agreed with Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) or in the context of consultations with third countries and will be tabled later this autumn. Thanks to splitting the proposal in this way, fishermen will learn sooner how much they can fish in 2012 and be able to plan ahead better.
For some stocks the long-term approach has already proven beneficial. For example the stocks of anglerfish in North and North-West Spain may reach sustainable levels (MSY) already in 2012, even with higher catches (110% increase in TAC proposed), and the TACs for cod in the Celtic Sea and the Bay of Biscay can be safely increased by 141%.
But serious concerns for a number of stocks remain. In particular, due to poor state of the stocks, the Commission proposes to stop fishing for cod in the West of Scotland, the Irish Sea and the Kattegat. Poor data hampers the management of these stocks and despite successive cuts in the TACs over the recent years, the stocks still fail to recover.
For stocks where data are too poor to properly estimate their size, the Commission applied a so-called precautionary principle, reducing the TACs by between 15% and 25% until more reliable data are available.
For 12 stocks the scientific advice will be issued in the autumn, so the proposal contains no figures for them at the moment.
The Commission already proposed fishing opportunities for the Baltic Sea for 2012 on 15 September (IP/11/1033). These proposals will be discussed by ministers at the October Fisheries Council.
See attached tables for details on today's proposals for the Atlantic and the North Sea
TACs and quotas: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/cfp/fishing_rules/tacs/index_en.htm
Multiannual management plans:
Table 1: Stocks with proposals for increased TAC
Table 2: Stocks with proposals for decreased TAC
Table 3: Stocks subject to late advice
Table 4: Stocks for which the TAC is delegated to an Individual MS
Key: TAC units
see also map of fishing zones: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/documentation/publications/cfp_factsheets/fishing_areas_en.pdf