In their annual marathon meeting on next year’s fishing quota, EU Fisheries ministers have yet again fixed fishing limits for many fish stocks higher than proposed by the European Commission, which largely followed scientific advice.

In their annual marathon meeting on next year’s fishing quota, EU Fisheries ministers have yet again fixed fishing limits for many fish stocks higher than proposed by the European Commission, which largely followed scientific advice.

Due to alternative assessment methods for data-poor stocks, scientists could provide advice for most of the stocks managed by catch limits, which was reflected in the Commission proposal. While the Ministers decisions will see more stocks being harvested at sustainable levels in 2013, catch limits were still set higher than proposed for 41 of the 64 stocks where the EU has exclusive competence.

Scientific advice was in particular ignored for cod in the North Sea, haddock in Faroe waters and West of Scotland, southern hake in Iberian waters, sole in the Irish Sea and Bay of Biscay, and Norway lobster in Bay of Biscay and Western Iberian Seas. These stocks will continue to be overfished, as the the agreed quota reductions are simply not sufficient.

Monica Verbeek, Executive Director of Seas At Risk said: “While the amount of stocks that are harvested at sustainable levels is gradually increasing, it is disappointing that for many stocks fishing levels were determined by politics rather than science, even though scientific advice was available for more stocks than ever. This underlines the need for a strong reform of the CFP with the objective to restore stocks to healthy levels, through management by multi-annual plans and an obligation to adhere to scientific advice.”

Earlier this week the Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament set the bar for the sustainable future of European fisheries by adopting an encouraging position on the main file of the CFP reform. See notes below for more information.

Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat urged ministers before the meeting to set catch limits according to scientific advice, to follow existing long-term management plans, and to reduce catch limits for stocks of which the status relative to MSY or appropriate proxies is unknown.

 

 

 

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