Management plan for endangered baltic salmon riddled with loopholes that threaten the stock

Oceana calls for common minimum landing size for salmon and sea trout and banning salmon fisheries in the Baltic Sea.

Press Release Date: July 11, 2012

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Today, members of EU Parliament Fisheries Committee adopted the report by Marek Gróbarczyk (ECR, PL) to establish a multiannual plan for the Baltic salmon. Oceana is disappointed in the outcome of the vote and urges stronger measures.

The text was proposed by the Commission in 2011, six years after the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission Plan for Baltic salmon stopped being implemented. Since then, this endangered species was only managed through sporadic measures such as closed seasons and annual total allowable catches (TAC) which were set in total disregard with scientific advice. This report is expected to be voted at the plenary session for the European parliament in October.

“Although management is a significant step, overall, the text adopted today is a disappointment riddled with loopholes that will certainly undermine any action undertaken to preserve this dwindling stock,” says Hanna Paulomäki, Oceana Baltic Sea project manager. “Until these loopholes are closed, this plan will only scratch the surface of the problem. We hope the Council will prove to be more ambitious in protecting this iconic species.”

Oceana is deeply disappointed in the rejection of:

–          the phasing out of salmon fishing in marine waters: because salmon populations are mixed during the feeding migration and it is impossible to target only healthy stocks.  This measure is extremely necessary to ensure that each, genetically distinctive salmon population, which generate in different rivers, is protected and maintained on a long-term basis; and

–          a minimum landing size common to sea trout and salmon: because undersized salmon is frequently misreported as sea trout to launder illegal salmon catches. Maintaining different minimum landing sizes creates an important loophole.

However, Oceana welcomes:

–          that the Multiannual plan applies both to commercial and recreational fisheries: recreational fisheries represent an important part of salmon fishing in the Baltic Sea and should therefore be subject to the same management measures as commercial fishing, in particular the obligation to notify and report on salmon fishing activities and include those catches into quotas.

The status of the wild Baltic populations varies between ‘poor’ in the Gulf of Finland and southern Baltic to ‘good’ in the Northern Baltic Sea, and according to the latest ICES advice salmon catches in the Gulf of Finland should be kept to a minimum. The Commission will present its proposal for TACs in the Baltic, including those for salmon, in early September.

For more information: Oceana report on Fisheries Management in the Baltic