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EC Proposes Baltic Sea Opportunities For 2012

by the Fish Site Editor
15 September 2011, at 1:00am

EU - The European Commission (EC) has tabled its proposal on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2012.

Based on scientific advice, the Commission proposes to increase TACs (total allowable catches) for both stocks of Baltic cod as well as for two stocks of herring (Western and the Gulf of Bothnia).

Decreases for the remaining stocks, in particular salmon, are deemed necessary, given the poor state of the fish stocks in question.

The Commission also proposes to limit the number of days at sea for fishing vessels, to the levels established last year. The overall aim of the proposals is to make fisheries in the Baltic Sea environmentally and economically sustainable by following the recommendations of scientists.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "This proposal takes care of the Baltic Sea fish stocks to preserve them for the benefit of current and future generations. We are trying to manage them in a responsible manner in line with the principles of our reform. Reaching our targeted maximum sustainable yield will lead not only to healthier fish stocks, but also to better income and more jobs for the fisheries sector."

The Commission's proposal follows scientific advice from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF) and from International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).

The Baltic Sea Regional Advisory Council (BSRAC) has been consulted on this proposal, on the basis of the Commission's Consultation document from May (IP/11/638).

The present proposal shall be discussed by the member states' ministers at the October Fisheries Council.

Background

Cod

The Commission proposes to increase by 15 per cent (to 67 850 tonnes) the TAC for eastern Baltic cod and by 13 per cent (to 21 300 tonnes) the TAC for western Baltic cod. These increases are possible because the long term management plan for cod in place since 2008 has helped to reduce fishing pressure to sustainable levels and has given stocks the time to replenish.

Herring

The Commission proposes to increase the TAC for the Western herring stock by almost one third (to 20 900 tonnes) and to slightly increase the TAC for the Gulf of Bothnia herring (by two per cent to 106 000 tonnes). On the other hand, the central and Gulf of Riga herring stocks are not sufficiently recovered. Therefore the Commission proposes to reduce the TACs for these stocks by 33 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

Salmon

To recover salmon populations to sustainable levels , the Commission proposes to reduce the TAC for the main basin by almost 80 per cent and by almost 30 per cent for the Gulf of Finland stock. The proposed reduction is in line with the scientific advice received. The Baltic salmon management plan, proposed by the Commission on 12 August 2011, will hopefully help to improve the status of the stock.

Sprat

The Commission proposes to reduce the TAC for sprat by 26 per cent, to 213 110 tonnes.

Plaice

There are no scientific data on the size of the plaice stock. Because it is not known what catch would be sustainable, the Commission decided to take a cautious approach and to propose a 25 per cent reduction in the TAC until more data can be collected and the proper catch level can be determined. This is in accordance with the internally-agreed precautionary principle.

the Fish Site Editor

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