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EU Council to Discuss Fishing Opportunities, Management

Sustainability Politics

EU - The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of December 2012 will take place in Brussels on 18-19 December 2012, under the presidency of Mr Sofoklis Aletraris, Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment.

A press conference will be held at the end of the discussions. The public debates and the press conferences can be followed by video streaming.

Commissioner Maria Damanaki will present the Commission's proposals for fixing fishing opportunities for 2013 for the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Black Sea. Ministers will discuss these proposals with a view to reach political agreement so that the limits can enter into force on 1 January 2013.

One Commission proposal concerns the 83 fish stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea managed by the EU exclusively. In line with scientific advice, the Commission proposes to increase or maintain the total allowable catch (TACs) for 16 stocks (including certain stocks of cod, Norway lobster, and sole), and reduce them for 47 stocks. The Commission's goal and one of the pillars of the on-going Common Fisheries Policy reform is to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels, the so-called Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2015. Long-term planning is key to achieving this goal and will enable more and more fish stocks to reach MSY which in return will benefit the whole fishing industry.

Ministers will also discuss the proposal concerning fish stocks managed together with third countries or through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) throughout the world. For the preparation of these proposals the European Commission has used scientific advice to negotiate with third countries (Norway, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Russia) the quantities of fish stocks to be caught in the following year. For the stocks in international waters and for highly migratory species, such as tuna, the European Commission has negotiated fishing opportunities in the framework of RFMOs. In negotiations with its international partners, the Commission has done its utmost to reach agreements that are sustainable and respect scientific advice.

Bulgaria and Romania are the only Member states concerned by the proposals for fishing opportunities for the Black Sea. The Commission proposes to cut the EU quota for turbot by 15 per cent, to 74 tonnes and keep the EU quota for sprat unchanged, at 11,475 tonnes.

The Council will also discuss a proposal of the Commission for long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks.