The Commission proposes a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 100 tonnes for turbot, unchanged from 2008, a TAC of 12,750 tonnes for sprat, representing a 15% reduction compared to 2008. These proposals are based on advice from a working group of leading Bulgarian and Romanian fisheries scientists, and from the Commission's own Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF) which has reviewed the working group's report.
Due to the lack of adequate data, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF) was unable to provide new advice on appropriate catch levels for 2009. Therefore its advice of October 2007 remains valid in a precautionary perspective, namely:
- that the appropriate level of catch for sprat should be less than 15000 tonnes, and
- that turbot catches should be as close to zero as possible, and in any case not exceed 100 tonnes, until a sign of recovery of the stock is observed.
In these circumstances, and in line with the criteria laid down in the Commission's Policy Statement on Fishing Opportunities for 2009 published in May, the Commission is now proposing to adjust TACs to bring them closer to recent real catch levels, but without changing them by more than 15% year-on-year.
The TAC for sprat is unallocated, while the TAC for turbot would be provisionally divided equally between the Bulgaria and Romania. The proposal also sets out technical measures for the turbot fishery. The minimum mesh sizes permitted in this fishery have been re-expressed in line with the most recent implementing rules for technical measures in the region, and are now set at 360 mm and 400 mm . The 360 mm minimum size represents a temporary derogation to allow the Bulgarian fleet time to adjust, and the Commission proposes that this derogation should be gradually phased out, in order to bring the mesh size rule into line with current scientific advice. There is no change proposed in either the 2-month closed fishing season, or the minimum landing size for turbot of 45 cm.