Brussels - The Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament has significantly improved an initial proposal from the Commission on the Baltic Sea multiannual plan adding objectives to bring stocks to sustainable levels and setting fishing levels that will allow for such stock recovery in accordance with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The proposal was the first multiannual plan tabled by the Commission following the 2013 reform of the CFP and the political agreement between Council and Parliament on long-term management plans. These plans are foreseen as the future management tool for fisheries in Europe, putting more emphasis on regional characteristics.

The initial proposal for the Baltic Sea would potentially have allowed for continued overfishing and lacked required provisions on reducing the impact of fisheries on the marine environment. But the Fisheries Committee amended the respective articles on achieving biomass levels above BMSY, set fishing exploitation rates below FMSY, and set regional stock biomass levels ("conservation reference points") that will trigger conservation measures as soon as stocks fall below them. (For more information, see our guide to CFP terminology here).

The Committee further added language to bring the objectives in line with the requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) to achieve the Good Environmental Status (GES) for European seas by 2020.

As a next step, the European Parliament will adopt its position on the plan in its plenary session at the end of April. Simultaneously, the Latvian presidency of the European Council aims to agree a joint Council position on the Baltic Sea multiannual plan in their upcoming meeting on 20 April. Once Parliament and Council have adopted their position, negotiations can start and a Baltic Sea multiannual plan might be agreed before summer.

Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat had sent a brief to fisheries ministers in the beginning of April to highlight the importance of including the objectives of the CFP in this and coming multiannual plans for European seas.

For more information
Contact SAR Fisheries Policy Officer Björn Stockhausen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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