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Little Increase in Deep-Sea Fishing Opportunities 2013-2014

Sustainability Politics

EU - The European Commission has proposed fishing opportunities for the deep-sea fish stocks in EU and international waters of the North-East Atlantic for 2013-2014.

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In line with the scientific advice, the Commission proposes to increase total allowable catches (TACs) for three stocks, a decrease for 13 stocks, and maintain TACs at the current level for eight stocks (including zero TACs for six stocks), compared to 2012.

For 2013 the Commission proposes to increase by 77 per cent the TAC for roundnose grenadiers west of the British Isles (to 4,500 tonnes). Fishing at these levels should permit to bring this stock to sustainable levels by 2015 (so called maximum sustainable yield (MSY)).

The Commission also proposes to increase by 20 and five per cent the TACs for two black scabbard fish stocks in western waters (West of Scotland/Ireland). Also for these stocks the scientific advice indicates how to achieve MSY in 2015.

TACs for the remaining stocks of black scabbard fish and roundnose grenadier are proposed to be cut or maintained unchanged. Taking the precautionary approach, the Commission proposes to cut by 20 per cent the red seabream and blue ling TACs, as the conservation status of these stocks is not fully assessed.

European Commissioner Maria Damanaki, in charge of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "to preserve the deep-sea fishery, we need to follow the scientific advice, and not overexploit these vulnerable species. Still, three of the stocks seem to be on the path towards recovery and MSY levels. We have a clear management objective: a long-term sustainable use of these stocks."

With only two exceptions, available data on the deep-sea stocks are insufficient to allow scientists to fully assess the stock status, neither in terms of number of fish nor fishing mortality. Nevertheless, the scientific advice has improved, notably on the stocks that offer the largest fishing opportunities.

Further Reading

You can view the full TAC changes by clicking here.