Ahead of the next Agrifish Council, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat published their recommendations to EU fisheries ministers on Baltic Sea fishing quotas in 2018.

The organisations call on the ministers to end overfishing, by setting fishing opportunities below the exploitation level that corresponds with maximum sustainable yield, in order to restore and maintain fish stocks to healthy levels as required by the Common Fisheries Policy. The recommendations address cod, salmon, herring, sprat and plaice stocks, as well as eel.

One of the more problematic fisheries is the one targeting Western Baltic Cod. That fish stock is severely overfished and now suffering from impaired reproduction,  which can lead to the collapse of the stock - and with it the destruction of a source of income. The organisations urge Member States to allow only small a catch of 1376 tonnes and to maintain the existing eight week closure of the fishery during the spawning season.

Another problematic fishery that requires urgent attention is the eel fishery. The eel is critically endangered and scientists have repeatedly advised to stop or reduce to a minimum all man-induced mortality on all life stages of eel, including fisheries.  The European Commission proposes to prohibit eel fisheries in the Baltic Sea, and  the Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat call on Member States to support this proposal as a first step to protect and recover eel.

The recommendations to the ministers are summarised in a letter, while one annex  to the letter provides more details on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2018 and another annex elaborates on measures for the European eel.

Anguilla anguilla