Total Allowable Catches (TACs)


Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is the tool used to establish maximum fishing limits during a certain timeframe and for each one of the species controlled by management plans. Scientific recommendations for each marine area specified by the FAO (ICES fishing areas) are used to establish catch possibilities.

Currently, the TAC system is not working correctly because scientific advice is being systematically ignored: roughly 78% of the recommendations have been ignored, causing the overexploitation of most European fishing grounds.

Oceana defends the TAC system and demands its correct application. The success of this system requires the following:

  • Establishment of TACs according to scientific advice
  • Respect for TACs, no catches above the assigned quotas
  • Total catch should be included in the TACs, including discards and bycatch 
  • Development and implementation of effective control systems to enforce compliance

What Oceana Does

Political commitment to correctly apply this system is fundamental and, as such, one of Oceana’s main objectives is to pressure and influence the decisions made concerning TACs.

Oceana believes it is necessary to maintain the TAC system and has expressed this in its recommendations for the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), as long as the system is applied following scientific recommendations.

In this sense, Oceana studies the scientific publications, monitors the recommended TACs and reports abuse committed in the assignation of quotas that exceed scientific recommendations.

During the campaigns on board the Oceana Ranger, Oceana scientists document illegal fishing activities and collect data that is subsequently analysed and studied. This way, the information is contrasted and the illegal activities carried out by the European fishing fleet are reported.

In addition, Oceana publishes an annual analysis of the proposed TACs and quotas. These analyses shed light on the infringements of recommendations and analyse the situation of the target species. These documents are made public and are sent to the administrations involved in the decision-making processes.