Commission proposes financial aid for fishermen affected by the closure of the Eastern Baltic cod fishery

Today, the Commission has adopted a proposal offering support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to fishermen affected by the closure of the Eastern Baltic cod fishery to permanently decommission their fishing vessels. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “Eastern Baltic cod is suffering from an exceptional crisis – scientists tell us that we are losing 3 times as many fish to environmental pressures than to fishing. Nowhere else in Europe do we find this situation. Today’s proposal seeks to turn this around: by creating conditions that will help the cod stock to recover, while supporting the local communities who depend on this stock. Both fish and fishermen in the Baltic Sea deserve a future.” At the Council meeting on 14-15 October, Fisheries Ministers followed a Commission proposal and agreed to reduce fishing possibilities in 2020 to almost zero. While this step is necessary to give the stock a chance to recover, the Commission recognises that it also means severe and unavoidable economic hardship for the fleets and fishing communities traditionally targeting this stock. With today’s proposal, the Commission aims to mitigate the economic impact of the closure and extend a helping hand to those fishermen and women who will be hit hardest.