Conclusions of the Fisheries Council meeting in Luxembourg on 19 and 20 October.

The Fisheries Council was dominated by the Commission's proposals for a root-and-branch reform of the CFP control framework and for fishing possibilities in the Baltic Sea for 2010.

The Control Regulation, proposed last November, has now been approved by Council and will enter into force on 1 January 2010. Delays have been agreed for a number of articles to enable Member States to be fully prepared to implement all measures in the Regulation. Ministers resolved the final outstanding issues, including a degree of harmonisation of sanctions, a new penalty points system, a payback system for overfished quotas and provisions to allow for the suspension of Community assistance in the event of non-compliance by Member States with the agreed control provisions. Furthermore, it was agreed that, for now, recreational catches will not be counted against national quotas.

Saskia Richartz, EU oceans policy adviser for Greenpeace, told SeafoodSource that the control regulation would be a step forward, cautioning that “the devil is in the detail.”

Speaking from Luxembourg after attending the October Fisheries Council, Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said the original control regulation, in place since 1983, was “in desperate need of renewal in light.”

Council also reached political agreement on the Commission proposal on fishing possibilities for fish stocks in the Baltic Sea for 2010.quotas were increased 15 percent in the eastern Baltic and 8.6 percent in the western Baltic. “Cod stocks have shown a welcome improvement. It was possible to allow a slight increase in the cod quotas for the coming year in line with scientific advice,” said the Swedish EU Presidency in a statement following the meeting.

the western herring stock continues to cause serious concern, prompting Council to agree on a 16.5% reduction. Furthermore, a 12% reduction for the central herring stock and 5% reductions for sprat and for salmon in the Main Basin were also approved. The changes in TACs agreed in Luxembourg will contribute to the ultimate aim of achieving the long-term sustainable exploitation of stocks.

Photograph by MERIS, ESA Envisat image.

 

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