Fisheries Council takes welcomed steps towards sustainable Baltic Sea fisheries

However Oceana disappointed in decision to set Baltic salmon fishing limits twice as high as scientific advice.

Press Release Date: October 23, 2012

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Yesterday, the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers discussed the 2013 fishing opportunities for the Baltic Sea in Luxembourg. Oceana is pleased with the Council decisions on cod, plaice, herring and sprat but disappointed in the decision to set the TAC for Baltic Salmon more than twice as high as the number given by scientific advice.

“The Commission proposal – and the decisions taken yesterday on most Baltic stocks – were relatively in line with scientific advice, but we are deeply concerned about the agreed TAC for salmon, as many of the river populations in the Baltic are threatened, or on the verge of extinction,” stated Hanna Paulomaki, Baltic Sea project Manager. “Last Friday, the Finnish Parliament decided to go against their own ministry’s proposal to set the salmon quota at 109 000 individuals, proposing instead at yesterday’s Council to limit the quota to 54 000 – the level recommended by scientists. We are disappointed that other Baltic Sea Minister did not support Finland’s text.”

Salmon is listed on the HELCOM red list as a threatened and/or declining throughout the Baltic Sea area, yet last year Member States set fishing levels above what was scientifically recommended in contradiction with the harvest control rule of the proposed Baltic salmon management plan.

The salmon stock in the Gulf of Finland is in poor status and according to the scientific advice, fishing of this stock should be minimized. The stock is also under pressure from the fishing that takes place in the Main Basin of the Baltic Sea, which is controlled under separate advice. Oceana requests that the fishing of these mixed stocks be banned to protect the weaker stocks.

TACs should be set in line with scientific advice and at levels that ensure the restoration of fish stocks above levels which can produce the Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2015. Therefore the decisions to cut the Eastern Baltic cod TAC by 6 %, and to reduce the TAC for the Western Baltic cod stock beyond the Commission proposal were welcomed.

During the meetings this week, the Fisheries Council of Ministers will also attempt to reach a partial general approach on the Commission’s proposal on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Based on yesterday’s public debate Oceana strongly urges the five countries (Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands and the UK) who oppose including subsidies that fuel overfishing in the EMFF to stand strong in today’s negotiations.