Commission quota recommendations for Baltic Sea fisheries not enough to reach environmentally sound target

Scientific advice once again cast aside in several critical cases.

Press Release Date: August 23, 2013

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Yesterday, the European Commission released its advice for setting 2014 Total Allowable Catches (TAC) in the Baltic Sea. Oceana recognizes the EU’s efforts to move closer to a sustainable approach, but maintains that the fishing quota recommendations fall short of already agreed upon international targets.

In the case of the Western cod stock, while scientific advice has suggested a 44% quota decrease to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), that is, productive fish stocks by 2015, the Commission released a recommendation to decrease the quota by only 15%.

“The commission claims their proposal is in line with scientific advice, which is clearly not true. If this proposal is agreed upon it will be certain that several fish stocks will not reach sustainable levels by 2015, an international commitment made by the EU, and recently upheld in the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy,” says Hanna Paulomäki, Oceana’s Baltic Sea project manager.

Salmon stocks, which are in very bad state following decades of overfishing and degrading environmental conditions, are also a cause for concern. Despite scientific advice stating that a 50% quota cut would still not be enough to ensure the restoration of the stock to sustainable levels, the Commission has chosen to maintain the same quota for the main salmon stock as was established last year.

“It is our hope that Fisheries Ministers will have the fortitude to follow scientific advice when they decide on fishing opportunities at the October Council meeting. This year’s agreement on TACs will reflect the willingness of the Ministers to implement what they have already agreed on”, added Magnus Eckeskog, Oceana policy advisor.

Learn more: Oceana’s TAC recommendations for the Baltic Sea