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European Commission - Press release

Fisheries: Commission proposes measures to conserve stocks of deep-sea species in the North-East Atlantic

Brussels, 9 October 2018

Today the Commission has proposed Total Allowable Catches (TAC) for a number of species for 2019 and 2020, in an effort to restore deep-sea fish stocks in the North-East Atlantic. Based on scientific advice, these new measures will enable stocks to gradually rebuild to sustainable levels.

"Our proposal invites Member States to apply a precautionary approach to reverse the worrying situation of declining deep-sea fish stocks", said Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. "It is in our shared interest to ensure that we have healthy fish stocks in deep-sea waters, for the sake of our fishermen and coastal communities, their livelihoods and for our marine ecosystems. Evidence also shows that sustainable fish stocks go hand in hand with a thriving industry."

The majority of deep-sea species are highly vulnerable and take a long time to mature. The Commission's proposal is based on precautionary scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), and takes into account the obligation for fishermen to bring to land all catches as of 1st January 2019. The proposal reduces the catch limits in seven fish management areas compared to 2017-2018 levels, including for alfonsinos and black scabbardfish. Fishing for orange roughy will remain prohibited.

At the same time, positive scientific advice concerning red seabream around the Azores and roundnose grenadier in South Western waters, has allowed the Commission to propose increased quotas for these species over the next two years.

The Commission also proposes to cancel the TAC management system for three species (greater forkbeard in the North-East Atlantic, roundnose grenadier in the North Sea and black scabbardfish in the North Sea and Skagerrak), as they are fished in small quantity which does not prevent them from reproducing.

The scientific advice for deep-sea sharks was delivered on 5 October and is currently being analysed. The Commission will complete the current proposal in view of its adoption by EU Member States in the Council, currently scheduled for 19-20 November.

Background

Deep-sea fisheries account for less than 1% of all fish caught in the North-East Atlantic. Over the years, fishing activity and associated jobs have been declining together with deep-sea stocks. At the same time, data on the structure of the stocks, age classes or frequency of young fish recruitment are often difficult to gather because of the deep-sea marine environment. Scientific advice recommends applying the precautionary approach to these stocks. The goal is to improve the state of stocks and allow for fishing at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), the level that allows the fishing industry to take the highest amount of fish from the sea while keeping fish stocks healthy.

Fishing for deep-sea species has been regulated by the European Union since 2003.

For further information

Map of fishing areas

Total Allowable Catches

Annex: TACs proposal for each deep-sea species

 

 

Species

 

 

Area

Council Regulation (EU) 2016/2285

12/12/2016

Commission Proposal COM/2018/676

09/10/2018

TAC in 2017

(tonnes)

TAC in 2018 (tonnes)

TAC 2019 Proposal

TAC change (%) 2018-2019

proposed

TAC 2020 Proposal

TAC change (%) 2019-2020

proposed

 

Deep-Sea sharks

EU and international waters of 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9

10

10

pm *

 

pm *

 

EU and international waters of 10

10

10

pm *

 

pm *

 

Deep-sea sharks -Deania hystricosa and Deania profundorum

International waters of 12

0

0

pm *

 

pm *

 

Deep-Sea sharks

Union waters of CECAF 34.1.1, 34.1.2 and 34.2

10

10

pm *

 

pm *

 

Black scabbardfish **

EU and international waters of 5, 6, 7, and 12

2954

2600

2390

- 8%

2390

0%

EU and international waters of 8, 9 and 10

3330

2997

2832

-6%

2832

0%

EU and international waters of CECAF 34.1.2.

2488

2189

Delegation to PT

 

Delegation to PT

 

Alfonsinos

EU and international waters of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14

280

280

224

-20%

224

0%

Roundnose grenadier

**

EU and international waters of 3

278

223

50

-78%

50

0%

EU and international waters of 5b, 6, 7

3052

3120

2462

-21%

2462

0%

EU and international waters of 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14

2623

2099

2281

+9%

2281

0%

 

Red seabream

EU and international waters of 6, 7 and 8

144

130

104

-20%

83

-20%

EU and international waters of 9

174

165

149

-10%

149

0%

EU and international waters of 10

517

517

576

+11%

576

0%

* The scientific advice for deep-sea sharks has been delivered on 5 October 2018 and is currently being reviewed.

** TAC management cancellation:

- for black scabbardfish in the North Sea and Skagerrak (ICES subareas of 1,2,3 and 4) due to low quota uptake and no targeted fisheries

- for roundnose grenadier in the North Sea (ICES subareas 1,2 and 4), following ICES advice that this would pose no risk of unsustainable exploitation

- for greater forkbeard (ICES subareas 1-10, 12 and 14), following ICES advice that removing these TACs would pose a low risk of unsustainable exploitation

IP/18/5983

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


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