EU ministers’ decision to continue overfishing in Baltic Sea disregards economic gains of sustainability

European ministers turn their back on Baltic cod overfishing crisis again despite goal of sustainable fishing by 2020

Press Release Date: October 10, 2017

Location: Luxembourg


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

EU’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) today reached an agreement on fishing limits for Baltic stocks for 2018. Regrettably, the Council decided to set the western Baltic cod quota at 5,597 tonnes (same limit as last year), which not only exceeds scientific recommendations but also undermines the goal of the Common Fisheries Policy to fish at sustainable levels by 2020.

The EU ministers’ short-term decision to continue the overfishing of Baltic cod is irresponsible and difficult to understand. Sustainable fisheries provide growth, jobs and profits but still respect the environment and allow stocks to recover and yield more in the long run,” said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.

The Western Baltic cod stock is currently in a very bad state yet excessive fishing continues. There is a need for immediate action and to set fishing limits in accordance with the lower, precautionary boundary set in the Baltic multiannual management plan, which would mean capping catches at 1,376 tonnes.

In just 10 years, the commercial catches of the Western Baltic cod stock have dropped by more than half, largely due to continuous overfishing. When fished sustainably, catches of Western Baltic cod could increase by more than 40,0000 tonnes (a 700% increase compared to 2016 catches) generating up to 80 million EUR of additional revenue.

Learn more about Oceana’s position on the Baltic Sea fishing opportunities in 2018

Learn more about a potential increase in productivity of the Baltic fish stocks in our factsheet