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The AGRIFISH Council adopts legislation in a number of areas relating to the production of food, rural development and the management of fisheries

EC pushes for long-term sustainability of Baltic stocks at AGRIFISH Council

EUROPEAN UNION
Monday, October 14, 2019, 15:20 (GMT + 9)

Fisheries ministers are meeting at the AGRIFISH Council in Luxembourg on 14 and 15 October to reach a political agreement on the Baltic fishing opportunities for 2020. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, will present the Commission's proposal, and urge ministers to address the serious situation of the Baltic fisheries by setting fishing opportunities at sustainable levels.

With the Baltic Sea the EC paved the way to sustainable fisheries management. It was the first sea-basin to have a multiannual plan for fisheries management in place and among the first to fully implement the landing obligation. Efforts by fishermen, industry and public authorities had succeeded in rebuilding important stocks, in recent years. Unfortunately, the Baltic ecosystem is fragile. Pollution and eutrophication are threatening the health of marine life. Moreover, new scientific advice suggests that many stocks are now in an extremely critical situation. Therefore, while fisheries is not the only factor that affects the ecosystem in the Baltic Sea,  Member States should act responsibly to address this critical situation and ensure that sustainable fishing can continue in this seabasin over time.



The Commission proposes to increase fishing opportunities for herring in the Gulf of Riga and maintain the same levels for salmon in the Gulf of Finland. For remaining stocks (central, western and Gulf of Bothnia herring, plaice, sprat, eastern and western Baltic cod), the Commission proposes to decrease fishing opportunities and has taken socio-economic aspects into account to the extent possible.

The Commission’s proposal is based on scientific advice from the International Council on the Exploration of the Seas and follows the Baltic multiannual management plan adopted in 2016 by the Council and the European Parliament.

Commissioner Vella will discuss with Ministers the preparation for the upcoming meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) which will take place from 18 to 25 November in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. It will be preceded by a 2-day intersessional meeting dedicated to tropical tunas, for which ICCAT could not adopt new management measures last year. The dire situation of the stock of Northern shortfin mako will also require the Parties to take ambitious measures.

The Commissioner will also participate in an exchange of views on the EU-Norway annual consultation in the framework of the bilateral fisheries agreement. The first round of consultations with Norway on fisheries arrangements for 2020 will take place towards the end of November.

In addition, the Council will adopt a partial general approach on the setting of a monitoring and evaluation framework for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which complements the partial general approach adopted in June. An effective framework should capture the outcomes of the funded activities and enable reporting on the fund's achievements and their contribution to the objectives of the common fisheries policy.

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