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EU Ministers Agree Baltic Fish Quotas

March 21, 2017

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EU fisheries ministers agreed next year's quotas for the ten commercially most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea Monday, paving the way for talks for the deep sea and North Sea later this year.

After a day of talks, the EU Council unanimously agreed an increase in catches for herring (except in the Gulf of Riga), plaice, and salmon (except in the Gulf of Finland) in line with the Commission proposal. For the remaining stocks, ministers decided on a smaller increase for sprat and no increase for salmon in the main basin.

Ministers also agreed reductions of 25% for Eastern cod, 56% for Western cod including bag limit provisions for recreational fisheries, 11% for herring in the Gulf of Riga and 20% for salmon in the Gulf of Finland.

"Today's agreement is an excellent result, both for the environment and the Baltic fishermen," said Slovak agriculture minister Gabriela Matecna for the EU presidency. "It was not easy but we managed to achieve a good balance between the sustainability of our marine resources and the needs of the fisheries sector of the countries concerned, in full compliance with the new Baltic multi-annual plan."

The quantities agreed today take into account the commitment to the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), including the achievement of maximum sustainable yield (MSY), the principles of the multi-annual management plan for the Baltic sea, and scientific advice, in particular advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

For cod in the Baltic ministers also agreed on a number of additional support measures further aimed to improve the state of the stock.

This item will now be included, following finalisation by legal and linguistic experts, for adoption at a forthcoming Council meeting.

The Council discussions were based on a Commission proposal firmly grounded in the recently adopted multi-annual fisheries management plan for the Baltic sea, and in available scientific advice, in particular the reports drawn up by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

Ministers also exchanged views on the annual consultations between the EU and Norway in the framework of their bilateral fisheries agreement. The main concerns expressed by Member States covered the management arrangements for the jointly-managed fish stocks and the exchange of reciprocal fishing possibilities in EU and Norwegian waters.

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