EU and Norway reach agreement on fishing possibilities for 2008
On 26 November, the European Commission, negotiating on behalf of the European Union, and Norway agreed on the fishing possibilities for 2008 for the seven main jointly managed fish stocks in the North Sea. The agreement is based on the latest available scientific advice and takes account of the need to ensure sustainable fisheries. For those stocks which are in poor condition (herring, whiting), substantial cuts in Total Allowable Catches (TACs) were made. In the case of North Sea cod, however, the recent improvement in the stock noted by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) allowed an agreement on an 11% increase in TAC, accompanied by a commitment by the EU to introduce measures to reduce the cod discard rate (i.e. the proportion of the catch that is discarded) to 10% in the North Sea.
Both parties agreed to continue to cooperate in securing continued responsible fisheries and ensuring the long-term conservation and sustainable exploitation of the marine resources for which they are responsible. There are currently four joint multi-annual plans in place for cod, haddock, saithe and herring. The plans for saithe and herring will be revised in 2008, and work will start in early 2008 to draw up a joint long-term plan for plaice to complement the EU recovery plan. Norway and the EU also agreed on a series of exchanges of fishing possibilities in the North Sea and North-East Atlantic, giving extended opportunities to both Parties to fish in a sustainable manner on species of common interest. Continued and substantial progress has also been made in strengthening control and enforcement on a number of fronts. Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg informed ministers at today's Fisheries Council on this agreement with Norway.