Fisheries Ministers yesterday evening agreed on fishing opportunities for 2015 for the main commercial species in the Northeast Atlantic. An agreement that did not follow scientific advice or end overfishing in all cases.
Last year ministers committed to put an end to overfishing by the end of 2014 under the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), but failed to respect the new rules today. Ministers managed to follow scientific and reduce fishing quotas for some stocks, such as herring, horse mackerel and southern hake, but maintained existing quotas or accepted weaker cuts than recommended by scientists to end overfishing to stocks such cod in most areas, sole in Eastern Channel and haddock in the Celtic Sea and megrim in the Bay of Biscay. Furthermore, the Council still agreed to set quotas for stocks which scientist have advised for the fishery to be closed in 2015 due to their detrimental shape such as cod in the Kattegat and in the Irish Sea and sole in the Irish Sea.
It is unacceptable that many of the fishing quotas agreed today fail to end overfishing. The agreement made yesterday clearly shows that much remains to be done if all stocks in EU waters are to be managed in a way that will ensure their long-term health from 2015 on as agreed under the reformed CFP.
FISH and Seas At Risk have prior to the meeting, urged EU Fisheries Ministers to follow the objectives agreed under the reformed CFP and to set catch limits following scientific advice as well as reduce catch limits for stocks of which the status relative to MSY or appropriate proxies is unknown.