Today the Council agreed on deep-sea fishing quota for 2013 and 2014, and set them higher than proposed by the Commission for half of the stocks, ignoring the vulnerability of these stocks.

The Commission proposal was largely in line with scientific advice, though for some stocks (black scabbard and roundnose grenadier) quotas were increased and for others the advice not to allow catches was ignored. The Council has a history of setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs) higher than the Commission proposes, and a recent study showed that fishers also overshoot these higher TACs.

This is particularly bad in the case of deep-sea fishing since these species are highly vulnerable to fishing pressure because of their long lifespans and low reproductive capability. Moreover, the higher TACs will result in increased fishing pressure for many more deep-sea species, caught as bycatch in the mixed fisheries with unselective gears. For example, this is the case for the agreed 69% increase in TAC for roundnose grenadier off the UK’s west coast. Most of the bycatch species have no TACs which leaves them unmanaged and unregulated, providing an easy way to avoid counting catches against quota by misreporting.

The Council did however also agree on quota reductions for some stocks in line with a more precautionary approach, and the prohibition to fish for orange roughy and deep-sea sharks was continued.

 

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