This is the first such plan under the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which took effect in 2014. Long-run management, rather than year-on-year planning, should make life more predictable for fishermen.
Multiannual management, and the fact that these three interacting species will now be managed through a single plan, should also make fishing in the Baltic more sustainable.
"The plan is a long-awaited pioneer proposal. It should help to ensure the balanced, sustainable exploitation of the stocks concerned and hence protect the livelihoods of fishermen. The multispecies approach should achieve this far more effectively than single species management. At the same time, the plan should also ensure that management measures reflect the most up-to-date scientific advice on stock status, interactions between species and ecological needs," said rapporteur Jaroslaw Walesa (EPP, PL).
The European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella commented: "I welcome the approval of the Baltic Plan by the plenary of the European Parliament, the first multiannual fisheries management plan of the new Common Fisheries. I would like to acknowledge the amendments made by the European Parliament that address the issue of by-catches of birds and mammals, making this way our policies on fisheries and environment more coherent in the region. Today's vote gives an important political signal for the future plans to come".
Supporting the plan, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe, Lasse Gustavsson, commented: “The plan, for the first time, offers a multispecies and sustainable approach that is significantly more effective than previous plans. It is a vital milestone on the EU's path to ensuring Baltic fisheries are both environmentally and economically sustainable and can provide a stable source of food and jobs.
"Today's vote is important as it paves the way forward and gives us hope to be able to reach the CFP objectives of rebuilding fish stocks by 2020 if the decision makers can adhere to their commitments during the upcoming final negotiations."
Sustainable fishing: reformed CFP key aims must be met
MEPs ensured that the stocks must be restored and maintained "above" biomass levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield (MSY), thus reflecting the language of the CFP regulation. MSY means catching no more than a given stock can reproduce in a given year, a key concept made mandatory by the reformed CFP.
The plan also has provisions for enforcing other key parts the new CFP, such as the landing obligation (discard ban) and regional management.