Baltic Sea fishing opportunities for 2020: Commission proposes a prudent package to ensure sustainable fisheries

Today, the Commission has adopted a proposal for fishing opportunities for the commercially most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea for 2020. The Commission proposes to increase catches for herring in the Gulf of Riga and maintain the levels for salmon in the Gulf of Finland. For the remaining stocks (central, western and Gulf of Bothnia herring, plaice, sprat, eastern and western Baltic cod), a reduction in catches is foreseen. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “Despite efforts by our fishermen and authorities, the situation of fish stocks in the Baltic is serious, particularly for eastern Baltic cod and western herring. In line with scientific advice, we propose a prudent package to ensure that sustainable fisheries can continue in the Baltic Sea over time.” The proposed total allowable catches (TAC) are based on scientific advice from the International Council on the Exploration of the Seas and follow the Baltic multiannual management plan adopted in 2016 by the Council and the European Parliament. Joint efforts by stakeholders in recent years have succeeded in rebuilding important stocks in the Baltic Sea and in allowing, where complete scientific advice is available, to set 7 out of 8 TACs in line with the principle of maximum sustainable yield, covering 95% of fish landings in volume. However, scientists have recently discovered that the situation was less stable than previously estimated.Decisive action is therefore necessary to ensure all stocks are at levels that allow for sustainable exploitation. The Council will now examine the Commission proposal, with the aim of adopting it on 14-15 October.