Aquaculture for all

EC Proposes 2012 Fishing Opportunities

Sustainability Politics

EU - The European Commission presented its first proposal for 2012 fishing opportunities for certain stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea. The proposal sets levels of total allowable catch (TAC) and fishing effort for the fish stocks managed by the EU exclusively, and not for stocks managed with third countries.

Based on scientific advice, the Commission proposes to increase the TAC for nine stocks (certain stocks of cod, anglerfish, herring, haddock, hake, sole, megrim and Norway lobster) and reduce it for 53 stocks.

For cod in the West of Scotland, the Irish Sea and the Kattegat, the Commission proposes that no fishing takes place in 2012, given the poor state of these stocks. The proposed changes would amount to an overall reduction in TACs (by weight) of 11 per cent compared to 2011. The Commission's goal is to set TACs at science-based levels which help recover the stocks and make fisheries sustainable in the long term.

Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "Our proposal's cornerstones are long-term management of stocks and reliable scientific data to base our decisions on, in line with our proposed reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. This reform will deliver a fisheries policy fit for the future, based on viable fish stocks which will assure fishermen a decent income."

The proposed catch limits are based on the scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). Stakeholders were also consulted on the basis of the Commission's Consultation document from May (IP/11/638).

The Commission's ultimate aim is that all stocks are fished at sustainable levels, the so-called Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), by 2015 a commitment that the EU made to the international community, and which is also a key pillar of the proposed CFP reform.

To help achieve MSY by 2015, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has started to frame its scientific advice with this goal in mind, whenever possible. Also, multi-annual management plans are being put in place for all major commercial stocks. Stocks managed in this way tend to fare better than those subject to short-term decision-making.

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