Aquaculture for all

Catch Possibilities for Anchovy in the Bay of Biscay for 2013/14 Proposed

Sustainability Economics Politics +2 more

EU - The European Commission has proposed a total allowable catch (TAC) of 17, 100 tonnes for anchovy in the Bay of Biscay for the fishing season 1 July 2013 - 30 June 2014.

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This TAC represents a reduction by 17 per cent of the fishing possibilities for this stock as compared to the previous season. The TAC is split between Spain and France – the only two Member States involved in this fishery – with Spain being allocated 15,390t, representing 90 per cent of the total TAC, and France 1,710t.

The proposal is based on the latest scientific advice which suggests that the stock remains above the safe biological level. However, at an estimated size of 56,055 tonnes this year, the stock has decreased compared to the previous season. Anchovy is a species that can experience large variations from one year to the other due to its short life span and its dependency on environmental conditions for growth.

The stock size used in the proposal is a preliminary estimate which needs to be formally confirmed by the relevant scientific bodies. The Commission's proposal would be updated accordingly if there were any changes to the scientific advice.

The proposed TAC is derived from a formula that determines the maximum tonnage that can be harvested in a given year as a function of the size of the stock. The formula, referred to in fisheries management science as "harvesting rule, was developed by the Commission in close cooperation with the industry and the Member States concerned. By using the rule, the probability of stock collapse despite large variations in size from one year to the other decreases significantly.

Since 2010, this method has provided a long-term, risk-based approach which offers the best chances of continuity and predictability to the harvesting and processing sectors. This came after five years of fishery closure (2005-2009) due to the collapse of the stock.

Pursuant to recent scientific advice it may be appropriate to update the "harvesting rule" and review other management measures. To this end, the Commission will consult the scientific bodies of reference as well as the relevant stakeholders.

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