On 17 October the EU Fisheries Ministers reached an agreement on the fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2014 – total allowable catches (TAC’s) for certain fish stocks and the fishing effort limits for the Baltic cod stocks.
The agreement was reached based on the successful results of negotiations at the regional level. It takes into account the scientific advice and follows the provisions of the multi-annual plan for cod stocks in the Baltic Sea, adopted in 2007.
“It is a responsible and balanced decision which ensures that four of the Baltic Sea fish stocks (Eastern cod, Gulf of Bothnia herring, Gulf of Riga herring and Central herring) will be fished at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels in 2014, while two other stocks (Western herring and sprat) will be fished at levels allowing them to reach this target by 2015”, noted Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture prof. Vigilijus Jukna.
In accordance with the provisions of the multiannual plan, the TAC for Eastern cod will be increased by 7%, for Western cod – decreased by 15% and the fishing effort exerted on both cod stocks (number of days at sea) will be reduced by 10% for Western and by 8.5% for Eastern cod stock.
The TACs for two pelagic stocks (Western herring and sprat) will be reduced and for three other pelagic stocks (Gulf of Bothnia herring, Gulf of Riga herring and Central herring) – increased. However, in order to avoid high fluctuations in the TACs from one year to another, the Council decided to increase the TACs for two herring stocks at a lesser amount than initially proposed by the Commission.
The TACs for both salmon stocks were set at a lower level than last year – by 2% for the Main Basin salmon and by 15% for the Gulf of Finland stock.
Furthermore, during the Council the ministers also tackled a number of other important fisheries issues: preparation for the EU-Norway annual consultations for 2014 and the upcoming ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) Annual meeting and North East Atlantic Mackerel Management and Coastal States negotiations.