Scientific advice indicates that stocks in some of the approximately 30 wild salmon rivers in the Baltic are outside safe biological limits and at risk of genetic depletion.
A non-binding management plan established by the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission in 1997 expired in 2010, and without a new plan the future management of the stock will be left without clear objectives and without predictability for fishermen and tourism enterprises.
In response, the European Commission is proposing a new multi-annual management plan for Baltic salmon. The objective of the proposal is the sustainable exploitation of all salmon river stocks in the Baltic Sea and hence to ensure the conservation status of the entire Baltic stock. The specific objectives of the new Regulation aim in ensuring that:
- the Baltic salmon stock is exploited in a sustainable way according to the principle of maximum sustainable yield (MSY);
- the genetic integrity and diversity of the Baltic salmon stock is safeguarded.
The main elements of this multiannual plan are:
- Clear objectives and targets are fixed (e.g. to reach 75 per cent of potential smolt production in each wild salmon river within ten years after the entry into force of the regulation);
- The TAC (Total Allowable Catches) cover all marine fisheries, including catches by non-fishing vessels used for recreational fisheries;
- An obligation for Member States to define and implement technical conservation measures such as closed areas and seasons to protect migrating spawners in their coastal waters not later than 24 months from the entry into force of the plan;
- A phasing out of the release of salmon in rivers that have man made obstacles and without potential for the re-establishment of self sustaining wild salmon populations in order to protect the genetic diversity of the wild stocks;
- Financial assistance from the EFF (European Fisheries Fund) for direct restocking of rivers with the potential for self-sustaining wild salmon populations as a conservation measure for the wild salmon stock.
The proposal, which is consistent with the European Union's environmental policy, especially with the objectives of the Habitat Directive, the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, is expected to restore the Baltic salmon stock and ensure its sustainable exploitation.
The proposal is based on scientific advice from ICES for the environmental parameters, the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute for the social and economic assessments and on assessments and advice from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF).