Oceana condemns the decision by the EU Fisheries Council on Baltic catch limits for 2016
Today, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the EU reached an agreement on the 2016 total allowable catches (TAC) for the Baltic Sea fish stocks. Regretfully, just like the last year, European ministers have yet again decided to ignore scientific advice for cod, setting the fishing limits well above sustainable levels. By doing so, ministers are not only undermining fish recovery, but also seriously endangering future jobs and growth in the fishing industry.
“Today, EU ministers have blatantly ignored their obligations to recover fish stocks,” explains Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “The EU Common Fisheries Policy obliges fisheries ministers to manage fisheries sustainably by 2020 at the latest. At this pace the 2020 deadline to restore sustainability of all fish stocks will not be met. This is not only yet another broken promise, it is bordering on illegality.”
Cod in peril
In just 10 years, the commercial catches of western cod stock dropped by half, while the eastern stock is still in a fragile state and needs careful management. European fisheries ministers once again proved to waste their words and neglect the plight of Baltic cod. Last year Denmark, Germany, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Sweden officially agreed to reach a sustainable fishing level for the western Baltic cod by 2016. However, the TAC agreed today is too high to achieve that and the additional measures are not sufficient to restore the stocks on time. In case of the eastern cod stock, the European Commission refused to follow scientific advice and proposed only half of the required TAC cut (-20% instead of -43% of last year’s limit). The member states followed this destructive approach and as a result, the agreed TAC for eastern cod brings the stock deeper into distress and undermines the overarching objectives of EU fisheries policy.