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Some Proposed EU 2017 Fishing Quotas "Still Not Sustainable"

Health Sustainability

EU - The EU's Commission has proposed catch volumes for healthy and sustainable fish stocks in preparation for the December Fisheries Council, where Member States will negotiate fishing quotas in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2017.

This is the annual scheme for the amount of fish which can be caught by European Union fishermen from the main commercial fish stocks next year, also referred to as Total Allowable Catches (TACs).

On the basis of the scientific advice received, the Commission proposes to maintain or increase the current fishing quotas for 42 stocks which are in good health, and reduce catches for 28 stocks which are faring poorly.

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "Our goal is clear: we need to bring all stocks to healthy and sustainable levels as soon as possible so that our fishing industry can remain viable."

Later this autumn the Commission will also propose some additional quotas, the so-called 'quota top-ups', for the fisheries that fall under the landing obligation in 2017. These extra quotas are granted on account of the fact that fishermen can no longer discard the fish caught unintentionally but have to land it. The allowed quota is therefore increased to facilitate the transition to the new system of no discards.

Scientist Liane Veitch from environmental organisation ClientEarth commented: “The Commission has proposed a number of 2017 fishing quotas in line with scientific advice. This is essential to meet the legal deadline of 2020 for all fishing to be sustainable. It is also the only way to protect seas and the industries that depend on them.

“However, in several cases the Commission has still not proposed the necessary cuts recommended by scientists. For example, its proposed catch limit of 1098t for plaice in the Irish Sea is exactly the same as for 2016, ignoring scientists’ call for a 60 per cent cut to bring fishing down to sustainable levels.

“This is backwards step in efforts to make fishing sustainable, which is legally required by 2020 at the latest. This deadline is fast approaching. Setting high quotas now will only lead to more painful cuts in the very near future.”