Brussels, 28 October 2014
Commission proposes fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2015
The European Commission has today proposed fishing opportunities for 2015 for the Atlantic and the North Sea. This is the annual proposal for the amount of fish which can be caught by EU fishermen from the main commercial fish stocks next year and it is for the first time based on the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). One of the key pillars of the new CFP is to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels, the so-called Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). Whenever possible, the scientists advise how to bring the stocks to MSY levels. For fish stocks in European waters, ie not agreed with international partners, the Commission proposes to increase or maintain the catch limits for 29 stocks, and reduce them for 40 stocks, in line with scientific advice.
For many of the stocks shared with international partners, negotiations are still ongoing. The proposal therefore only includes figures for about half of the stocks at this stage. It will be completed once negotiations with third countries and within Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) have taken place.
The proposal will be discussed by the Member States' ministers at the Fisheries Council on 15/16 December and will apply from 1 January 2015.
Details of the proposal
The proposal sets levels of total allowable catch (TAC) and fishing effort both for stocks managed exclusively by the EU, and for stocks managed with third countries such as Norway or through RFMOs across the world's oceans.
For some EU stocks at MSY, such as anglerfish and horse mackerel in Iberian waters, sole in the Western Channel and Nephrops in the North Sea the Commission proposes to increase TACs. These stocks are success stories for both the fishing industry and the Member States concerned who have shown that managing stocks responsibly and taking decisions to achieve MSY delivers sustainable fish stocks and pays off financially for those employed in the industry.
At the same time, for some stocks in a poor state, the picture remains alarming. Cod stocks in the Irish Sea and the Kattegat continue to be in a dire state, and the poor data hampers managing these stocks. Sole in the Eastern channel is at extremely low levels. Advice for haddock and cod in the Celtic Sea demands also considerable TAC cuts, so that these stocks can be brought to MSY levels. Cod in the West of Scotland is a real problem with extremely high rates of discarding and is still at a risk of collapse.
For many of these stocks, more selective fishing techniques are urgently needed, so that young fish are not caught before they can reproduce and replenish the fish stocks. This is particularly urgent for fisheries in the Celtic Sea and the Western waters, where a big effort is needed to implement the selectivity measures advised by scientists. This will also help our fishing sector comply with the obligation to land all catches as of next year and to become more profitable in the medium term.
For stocks where data is not good enough to properly estimate their size, the Commission proposal reflects the advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to adapt the TAC up or down by a maximum of 20%. Following a Council decision last year on precautionary reductions, TACs are proposed at the same level as in 2014 for 26 of these stocks.
For a limited number of EU stocks, the scientific advice has been received only recently, or it will be released in the next few weeks. For these stocks, the advice needs to be further analysed before a TAC figure will be proposed, later in the autumn.
For fish stocks shared with third countries (Norway, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Russia), the European Commission, on behalf of the EU, negotiates towards the end of each year with these countries on the quantities of fish to be caught the following year, based on scientific advice.
For the stocks in international waters and for highly migratory species, such as tuna, the European Commission, representing the EU, negotiates fishing opportunities in the framework of RFMOs. These must subsequently be transposed into EU law.
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
Scientific advice: 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), see:
Stakeholders were also consulted, based on the Commission's Consultation document from May : see IP/13/487
Multiannual management plans:
Map of fishing areas:
Note: the tables below only list EU stocks not shared with third countries.
Table 2: Stocks with no changes in TAC1
Table 3: Stocks with proposals for decreased TAC
Table 4: Stocks in pm, e.g. subject to late advice
Table 5: Stocks for which the TAC is delegated to an Individual MS
This table does not include the stocks included in the Joint Statement by the Council and the Commission "Ad Specific Data Limited Stocks" (see Council document PECHE 13, 5232/14). The TACs for data limited stocks included in this statement will be maintained for a further 4 years, unless the perception of the status of any of these stocks changes significantly during this period.