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.


Seas At Risk held its annual conference on 21st October on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

The conference title was "Towards sustainable European fisheries: The double challenge of restructuring and reducing the fishing fleet."

The Common Fisheries Policy is currently being reviewed and overcapacity has been identified as one of the most serious problems by the European Commission. Seas At Risk agrees with the Commission’s analysis but feels that an important angle of the reduction debate is being neglected: the quality of the fleet that should result of reduction efforts. A revised CFP will have to take the opportunity not only to reduce capacity, but also to reduce it in such a way as to keep the most low impact sectors of the fleet and cut the most destructive and unsustainable fleet sectors.

The conference addressed the link between capacity reduction and sustainability criteria.

The objectives of the conference were:

- To convey the message that the reform of the CFP presents the ideal opportunity to not only reduce fishing capacity, but also to restructure the EU fleet so as to obtain a low impact, climate friendly and socially responsible fleet.

- To define what sort of fleet is to be desired as an end result – should social and environmental criteria play a role in the decommissioning process?

- To identify adequate management tools which can deliver such a fleet.

The audience was made up of policy and decision makers, NGOs and industry, and the conference programme will allow for substantial discussions on how to best reach environmental, social and economic targets while reducing and restructuring the Community's fishing fleet.

For more information please see our Events section or contact Natalie Kontoulis This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Photograph by Sascha Regmann/Project Blue Sea/MarinePhotobank.

The European Commission has published a progress report on the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP). The report evaluates actions undertaken since 2007 to date, and outlines strategic policy orientations of the future of the IMP.

Once again the Commission places considerable emphasis on the economic potential of maritime sectors, particularly shipping and energy generation. The current financial and economic crisis provides yet an incentive to fully exploit the potential of our seas.

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