BALTFISH established as a permanent ministerial forum

Published on February 28, 2017

As a conclusion to its placement under the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR), BALTFISH has produced a final report.

This report, along with the Memorandum of Understanding, signed in December 2013, establishes BALTFISH as a permanent ministerial forum and now paves the way for a more detailed workplan and projects to be developed.

BALTFISH had been created as a Flagship Project of the EUSBSR, under the Bioeconomy Policy Area.

In the coming year the implementation of the landing obligation will be given high priority, along with the annual rounds of TAC and quota negotiations.

Transparency within BALTFISH has long been discussed, however, a website has yet to be created and minutes or participants list from meetings are not publicly accessible. The current Germany Presidency has made a commitment to producing a website but has been unable to do so. Moreover, the Polish Presidency from 2015-2016 drafted a non-paper on transparency and it is expected that this process will move forward with clear guidelines established.

The Fisheries Secretariat sees an opportunity for BALTFISH to now also focus on the implementation of Article 17 of the CFP Basic Regulation:  “When allocating the fishing opportunities available to them….Member States shall use transparent and objective criteria including those of an environmental, social and economic nature”.

Developing a Baltic-wide standard for implementing Article 17 would be a valuable subject for BALTFISH to work on and lay the foundation for a model of equitable and progressive quota allocation to be established.