Oceana: Commission’s proposal for sustainable fisheries in the Baltic Sea neglects cod
Yesterday, the EU Commission tabled the long-overdue proposal for management of cod, sprat and herring.
Press Release Date: October 7, 2014
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Yesterday, the European Commission finally published its management plan proposal for cod, sprat and herring which has been anticipated for many years. Oceana welcomes this step, as it is the first time ever that the EU has addressed fisheries management with an attempt at understanding how ecosystems function; from prey to predators instead of single-species management.
The species included in the plan represent the most commercially important species for the Baltic Sea and includes measures to protect juveniles and reproduction. Furthermore, considerations of the impact that fisheries have on other species is also taken into account.
However, Oceana is of the opinion that the plan is not yet complete as it does not contain measures or targets that will ensure the recovery of the eastern cod stock. In recent scientific advice, scientists issued a very low catch limit for this stock due to large uncertainties in current data. Oceana therefore worries that the fishing mortality targets proposed for this stock are too high, and considers that the plan should contain measures or targets to ensure a healthy size and age distribution of this stock.
“This plan is supposed to pave the way towards more sustainable fisheries in the Baltic Sea and in Europe. Therefore it is unfortunate that the current status of the Eastern cod stock is not properly addressed. Though this stock seems to have grown in spawning size in recent years, fishermen and scientists still report that it mostly consists of very small and thin individuals. Our hope is that this issue is better addressed by including measures in the plan to remedy this problem”, says Hanna Paulomäki, Oceana’s Baltic Sea Project Manager.