Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and many other regulations of EU fisheries are decided by the fisheries ministers gathered for a Council meeting*.
The Baltic TACs are generally set at the October Council meeting, quotas for a long line of vulnerable deep-sea species, particularly sharks, are decided in November (for two years), while TACs for the majority of EU fish stocks are usually agreed at the December Council meeting.
The TAC decisions are based on proposals from the Commission, the Commission in its turn first turning to two main bodies for scientific advice:
• The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), an independent scientific body based in Copenhagen, and
• The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), a body of both marine biologists and social and economic scientists appointed by the Commission.
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* The Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers are, besides the Foreign Ministers, the only Council configuration that meets every month. Not every Agriculture & Fisheries Council, however, has fisheries points on the agenda.