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Conservation Body Says Baltic Plan Does Not Go Far Enough

Alice Mitchell
21 March 2016, at 12:00am

EU - An EU agreement made last week for sustainable management of Baltic fisheries will allow overfishing to continue, according to conservation charity Oceana.

Oceana said the plan in its current form allows for the continued overfishing of the most important Baltic stocks, essentially making the CFP's commitment to the restoration of fish stocks back to healthy levels redundant.

"The Fisheries Ministers of the European Member States have yet again proved that EU conservation law exists on paper only by choosing to continue ignoring the obligation to manage our fish stocks sustainably," explains Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.

"Ending overfishing by 2020 has to be our top priority and the decision makers had the power to do this. Yesterday's proposal is a lost opportunity to achieve that."

The Baltic multiannual plan is an important piece of legislation being the first of a set of management plans adopted under the reformed CFP and Oceana said its faults set a low ambition for future management plans in other regions (e.g. the North Sea multiannual plan).

However, the EU Commission welcomed the plan, which covers cod, herring and sprat stocks.

Commissioner Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "I am very pleased that Member States and the European Parliament have reached an agreement on the multi-annual plan for the Baltic, the first such plan under our reformed Common Fisheries Policy.

"The plan sets the basis for the sustainable management of the most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea. As such, it is good news for Baltic fish stocks and for the fishermen who depend on them for their livelihood."