EU rules on allowed catch for certain stocks in EU and non-EU waters will apply from 1 January.

Fisheries ministers from the European Union’s member states yesterday (16 December) agreed on fishing quotas for 2015 for EU vessels in both EU and non-EU waters.

The agreement, which was supported by all 28 member states, is the first since the revision of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which aimed to make the industry more sustainable by setting targets to keep stocks viable and set out better working conditions for fishermen.

Karmenu Vella, the European commissioner for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, said that the CFP had passed its “first real test”.

“The best news is that we have succeeded in increasing the number of stocks that are now managed at sustainable levels. This will allow fishermen to progressively benefit more from higher catches for these stocks.”

Vella added that fishing limits for certain stocks, including anglerfish and horse mackerel in the Iberian Sea and Norway lobster in the North Sea, have already led to an increase in numbers.

In October, the Commission published a proposal on the fishing quotas for certain stocks based on scientific advice. The ministers did not follow this advice for all stocks, but Vella said that where the suggestions are not followed, “member states should take the necessary actions to avoid a real disaster from happening later”.

Ignoring scientific advice was a concern for some NGOs. Uta Bellion, director of the EU marine programme of The Pew Charitable Trust, said that it could put “fishing stocks at risk”.

She added: “The policy does allow for delays beyond 2015, but only if there is evidence that sticking to the deadline would seriously jeopardise the social and economic sustainability of the fishing fleets involved.”

Lasse Gustavsson, Europe director of Oceana, said that the agreement is “a step backwards for EU fisheries management”.

The quotas agreed yesterday will apply from 1 January.

Much of the discussion centred on how to deal with a ban on discarding unwanted fish back into the sea.

This will come into force in January for species such as herring and mackerel, and a year later for cod and haddock. Fishing boats will be obliged to land unwanted species caught in their nets.

Vella welcomed a deal to make “specific commitments to decrease the pressure on stocks that are in a critical state”.


  • Source : http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/deal-reached-on-2015-fishing-quotas/
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