In advance of the Fisheries Council meeting this week at which fishing limits for 2012 will be set, Seas At Risk is calling on EU Fisheries Ministers to follow the best available scientific advice and set limits that enable the EU to achieve its target of rebuilding fish stocks to sustainable levels by 2015.

In advance of the Fisheries Council meeting this week at which fishing limits for 2012 will be set, Seas At Risk is calling on EU Fisheries Ministers to follow the best available scientific advice and set limits that enable the EU to achieve its target of rebuilding fish stocks to sustainable levels by 2015.

The annual meeting on Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quota in Brussels is always important for the management of European fish stocks. This is even more the case for this and next year’s meetings, because of an EU commitment at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 to restore fish stocks to levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2015. The deadline is approaching fast and decisions at this week’s and next year’s meetings will determine success or failure.

The Ministers will discuss the proposal of the European Commission for fishing opportunities in 2012. The Proposal is based on management plans, where these exist, and largely follows scientific advice for stocks where advice is provided. It also contains reductions of 15 or 25% for ´data poor´ stocks where there is not sufficient data available for scientific advice based on full assessments. The proposal includes a prohibition of fishing on the cod stocks in the West of Scotland, the Irish Sea and Kattegat and reductions in fishing opportunities for a vast majority of stocks. It also contains increases for some stocks, as in the case of anglerfish in North and North-Western Spain.

In an open letter sent to EU Fisheries Ministers earlier this month, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat state their general support to the Commission’s proposal. If adhered to, it would take the EU some steps forward on the way to more sustainable fisheries and attainment of international targets.

Additionally, the organisations urge the Ministers to: follow scientific advice; to stick to the aim of achieving MSY by 2015; to make selective gears in certain fisheries mandatory; and to align EU fisheries management areas with the areas used by the scientists in their advice on fishing limits.

The groups also ask the Ministers to address the issue of data poor stocks, recognising that the Commission’s approach is very general and a further distinction between different categories of ´data poor´ stocks would be useful: For some stocks no data is available, while for others at least trends can be determined. In addition, the letter contains detailed comments on cod, southern hake, European anglerfish, nephrops (Norway lobster) and sole.

Read the full letter to Europe's Fisheries Ministers

 

For more detailed information on our proposals, see the full SAR FISH December Council briefing on our dedicated CFP Implementation page

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