Today, the EU’s farming and fisheries ministers reached a political agreement on next year’s total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas per member state for the ten most commercially important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea. The agreement determines the quantities of each species that member states will be allowed to catch in 2022 and also sets out certain conditions for fishing vessels operating in the region.
The agreement includes a number of changes to the previous year’s TACs. In particular:
- Due to low biomass levels, the TAC for herring in the Western part of the Baltic Sea was limited to bycatches and was reduced by 50%; in the Central Baltic it was cut by 45%.
- Given the lack of improvement in cod stocks, the Council continued the practice of setting only a specific TAC for bycatches. This was also the case for salmon in the Main Basin, although the TAC for salmon stocks in the Gulf of Finland saw a moderate increase.
- The TACs for plaice and sprat were increased by 25% and 13% respectively.
Today’s agreement balances the socio-economic needs of Baltic fishing communities with the long-term sustainability of fish stocks in the region. It is based on sound scientific advice and reflects the Council’s commitment to upholding the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy while also addressing environmental concerns.
Jože Podgoršek, Slovenian Minister for Agriculture
The agreement in detail
The TACs and quotas agreed by ministers are based on the latest scientific advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). They also reflect the aims of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the provisions of the multiannual management plan for the Baltic sea. Initial negotiations took place at regional level via BALTFISH, the regional fisheries body for the Baltic Sea, which is currently chaired by Latvia.
In addition to the abovementioned TACs and national quotas, the Council agreed on specific measures for cod stocks, including:
- restrictions applied to recreational fishing in subdivisions 22-26;
- temporary fishing bans (with certain exemptions) during specific periods to protect cod spawning.
As part of the political agreement, the Council also decided on fishing opportunities for Norway pout, the fishing season for which begins each year on 1 November. As this stock is partly present in UK waters, the TAC will be revised at the end of the year to take into account the outcome of consultations with the United Kingdom.
Today’s decision will be formally adopted by written procedure following legal and linguistic revision.
Under article 43(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Council is responsible for fixing and allocating fishing opportunities, on the basis of a Commission proposal and without the need to consult the European Parliament or the European Economic and Social Committee.