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EU Proposes Multiannual Fisheries Management Plan for the Baltic Sea

07 October 2014

EU - In order to increase predictability for fishermen and to ensure high, stable and sustainable catches, the European Commission has, for the first time under the new Common Fisheries Policy, proposed a multiannual fisheries management plan for the Baltic Sea that applies to cod, herring and sprat stocks.

It is the first real mixed fisheries management plan and replaces the management plan in place for the two Baltic cod stocks.

The plan will ensure the sustainable exploitation of these Baltic Sea stocks so that the fishing industry can enjoy stable fisheries with higher yields.

  • For fishermen, it means clearer and simpler rules. The plan leaves room for manoeuver for Member States and stakeholders to decide about how to best implement the plan in their sea-basin. It also empowers local stakeholders when it comes to developing technical measures and taking ownership of fisheries management.

  • Since it applies to several fisheries, the plan ensures that the fisheries management is based on the most up to date scientific information on interactions within and between the stocks and with other aspects of the ecosystem and environment.

  • Rather than short-term planning, this multiannual plan takes a long term approach to the management of fish stocks, taking into account the specificities of different fisheries. This approach is crucial to the objective of exploiting fish stocks at a sustainable level.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said: "This plan for the Baltic Sea is what we sought to achieve when we reformed the Common Fisheries Policy. It gives power to regional actors, and instead of having year-on-year planning, this long term plans will help ensure the sustainability of our stocks in the Baltic and provide a reliable source of income from fishing for fishermen. The implementation of the reformed fisheries policy is now in full swing and I now look forward to seeing the other sea basins' plans."

This management plan is the first such proposal under the new Common Fisheries Policy and after an inter-institutional deadlock has been resolved between the European Parliament and the Council in April this year. It will now be further discussed with the European Parliament and Council.

The plan incorporates the new elements of the CFP ranging from the implementation of the landing obligation to regional cooperation amongst Member States.

An obligation to land all catches of cod, herring, sprat and plaice coming from the cod, herring and sprat fishery in the Baltic Sea is included except in circumstances where there is evidence of high survival rates.

Member States together with Advisory Councils will now contribute significantly more to the fisheries management process. The plan establishes regional cooperation for the adoption of technical measures, provisions for the landing obligation and specific conservation measures for the by-catches in the fisheries for the stocks concerned.

Commenting on the proposed plan, Oceana said it is of the opinion that the plan is not yet complete as it does not contain measures or targets that will ensure the recovery of the eastern cod stock.

“This plan is supposed to pave the way towards more sustainable fisheries in the Baltic Sea and in Europe. Therefore it is unfortunate that the current status of the Eastern cod stock is not properly addressed. Though this stock seems to have grown in spawning size in recent years, fishermen and scientists still report that it mostly consists of very small and thin individuals. Our hope is that this issue is better addressed by including measures in the plan to remedy this problem,” said Hanna Paulomäki, Oceana’s Baltic Sea Project Manager.

 

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