Salmon and cod left out to dry in 2014 Baltic Sea fishing opportunities decision

Oceana expresses concern over Fisheries Council decision continue to ignore scientific advice to reach sustainable fisheries.

Press Release Date: October 17, 2013

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Today, the European Fisheries Council opted to listen to the fishing industry over scientific advice at the expense of Baltic Sea salmon and cod. Even though scientific data is clear that larger cuts in allowable catches are needed to transition to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2015 and reach sustainable levels of fishing, the 2014 fishing opportunities once again show Ministers unwillingness to follow this advice for all stocks, and put their money where their mouth is. 

“To achieve MSY by 2015, which is an internationally agreed commitment, we need strong political will. The Council must take their responsibility seriously and go beyond the cod management plan, which is outdated and should have been revised years ago. The legal means for the Council to achieve this are there,” says Hanna Paulomäki, Oceana’s Baltic Sea project manager.

For the western cod stock, scientists recommend a 44% decrease in total allowable catch (TAC) to achieve MSY 2015, but the council went for a modest 15% cut. For Baltic salmon, the Council chose to cut the TAC by only 2% from last year’s allocation, even though the advice suggested that a 50 % cut would not be enough to ensure a sound and sustainable stock by 2015. Salmon in the Gulf of Finland, which is in a very bad state, saw a TAC reduction of only 15%.

“It is regrettable that the Council has chosen to continue to allow high fishing pressure for this species. There is clear evidence that salmon in the Baltic Sea is in trouble, particularly in the Gulf of Finland where no fishing should be allowed,” added Magnus Eckeskog, policy advisor at Oceana.

Nevertheless, Oceana is pleased to see that other stocks will be managed at MSY levels.

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