Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 335

AGRIFISH Press Statement 15 October 2019

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 19 ottobre 2018

We have had a very productive Council covering fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea, which were adopted unanimously, preparations for the next meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), and preparations on fishing arrangements with Norway.
Today there was a real understanding around the table that we cannot be complacent. The Baltic ecosystem is a fragile one with pollution and ensuing eutrophication. And although some stocks are doing better than others, overfishing still exists and the biomass of some stocks is still not at a healthy level.
Therefore, there was broad recognition that our decisions for 2019 need to be ambitious and responsible, in line with the objective to reach maximum sustainable yield (or MSY) levels by 2020 at the latest.I am therefore happy to say that for 7 stocks out of 8 for which scientists provided an MSY-advice, we have fixed total allowable catches at sustainable levels.This means that in 2019 over 98% of estimated landings in the Baltic Sea will come from sustainable fisheries.And as we have said before, sustainable fishing pays off, so there is equally good news for our fishermen.Our decisions today will mean nearly 1 billion euros worth of landings with an average gross profit margin of above 30%, which is a very healthy level of profitability. And 9 of the top 10 most profitable fleets are going to be small-scale.We agreed to increase catches of western cod, sprat, plaice and Gulf of Riga herring. We kept the same levels of catches as last year for salmon in the main basin. And we decided to decrease catches for eastern cod, salmon in the Gulf of Finland and for western, central and eastern herring, as well as herring in the Gulf of Bothnia.
On western cod, I am pleased that things are looking better in 2019. However, the stock is not yet seeing a sustained recovery. It is a good story that rests entirely on one good year in 2016. This is why it was important to limit the increase to levels that will still leave enough of that good year in the sea so that this fish can fill up the stock and produce more fish for the years to come.While Council today has decided to increase the catch limits by more than that proposed by the Commission, this increase will still keep this catch limit in the lower half of the lower MSY-range. This should still help us to stay at sustainable levels also in the coming years.
This takes me to the fishery which has now become our biggest worry in the Baltic: western herring.Here, the Council agreed to a reduction by 48% and additional conservation measures to be taken by the Member States. This is less than what the Commission has proposed. However, it is still below the lowest point of MSY range based on the latest scientific information and it will allow the biomass to increase by around 4%. This was an essential criterion for me to be able to support the compromise.And let me just briefly say a few words on two other points we discussed: preparations for the next meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and fishing arrangements with Norway.

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