Analysis of the Baltic multiannual plan

Published on June 21, 2016

The Baltic multiannual plan (Baltic MAP, or the Plan) is expected to be passed into legislation on 23 June 2016, after being rubber stamped at the European Parliament plenary. This is the final legislative step to be concluded under co-decision. It will likely enter into force by September 2016.

As this multispecies approach is new and untested in the management of EU fisheries, we strongly recommend risk averse and precautionary decisions being taken, in particular at the inception of the Plan. Over the course of the MAPs development, which began in 2011[1], there have been considerable fluctuations in the scientific recommendations. What is a sustainable level of fishing mortality for cod has varied significantly during the process of developing the MAP. Considering the perilous condition of the cod stocks, in particular, we believe it is advisable to proceed in a precautionary manner, with risks minimised.

While we are supportive of multiannual and multispecies management plans, they provide a longer-term perspective and aim to understand the complex interactions within ecosystems; it is still a process in its relative infancy. There has been a long political negotiation to allow for the MAP to become legislation.

Over the course of these negotiations, the interpretation of the scientific basis underpinning the Plan, in particular decisions relating to fishing mortality rates, has been inconsistent. Research has indicated and we foresee that if the upper limits allowed for within the MAP are utilised, serious environmental and economic problems would arise. Catches would not increase substantially but the risk of stock collapse becomes more probable.[2]

You can read our full analyis of the Baltic MAP here


[2] Möllmann et al. 2013