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European Commission Proposes Multi-annual Plan for Herring

EUROPE - The European Commission has tabled a proposal for a Council regulation on a multi-annual plan for the management of herring fisheries to the West of Scotland.

The proposal will ensure the sustainability of the fishery and prevent any sudden increase in fishing pressure which could jeopardise its future.

This will require adjusting the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) to achieve a high and sustainable yield by following scientific advice.

The target fishing mortality rate (measure of catches) is set at 0.25 when the size of the spawning stock is greater than 75 000 tonnes, and 0.2 when it is between 75 000 tonnes and 50 000 tonnes. Should the stock fall below the 50 000 tonne level, the fishery would be closed, until it recovers.

"The review of the cod recovery plan shows how difficult it is to rebuild depleted stocks. As this herring stock is in reasonable shape, this is the right time to set up a long-term plan to ensure that current good fishing practices are maintained. This is the best way of ensuring the sustainability of the fisheries concerned." said European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Joe Borg.

Though the fishing rate is roughly at the level scientists recommend, there are worries about the numbers of young fish joining the stock, which is currently slightly over-fished, hence the need for a long-term plan.

Ellen Hardy

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