The Council adopted yesterday by written procedure a regulation providing fishing opportunities in 2014 to EU vessels in Union and certain non-Union waters (18118/13).
A political agreement had been reached on this regulation at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 17 December 2013. The regulation establishes the total allowable catches (TACs) and member states' fishing quotas for 2014 for fish stocks which are not subject to international negotiations or agreements and stocks subject to international negotiations or agreements. Each year, on the basis of a Commission proposal, the Council has to take a decision on fishing opportunities for the stocks in the Atlantic, the North Sea and international fisheries in which EU vessels participate. This is the main fishing opportunities regulation in terms of the number of regulated stocks. Along with the regulations fixing the fishing opportunities for the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, this text regulates the harvesting of the stocks to levels which must be consistent with the overall objectives of the common fisheries policy (CFP). In October last year an extensive reform of the CFP has been agreed by the Council and the European Parliament (14962/13).
The regulations take into account available scientific advice and, in particular, the reports drawn up by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF).
This year, the Council and the Commission noted that the fishing opportunities regulations include a number of TACs for stocks for which there is limited information on stock status and which are of low economic importance, or are taken only as by-catches, or which show low levels of quota uptake. In these cases, it was agreed to constrain catches at or below the TAC levels fixed for 2014 for the following four years. If the perception of the status of any of these stocks changes significantly during this period, both institutions agreed that the TAC levels should be reviewed and revised as appropriate.
The fishing opportunities 2014 for the Baltic Sea and for the Black Sea were already adopted respectively on 19 November 2013 (16405/13) and on 10 January 2014.
According to Article 43(3) of the Treaty, the Council adopts measures on a proposal from the Commission on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities.