EU Fisheries Council 2018 agrees catch limits for the main commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic and North Sea

Published on December 13, 2017

The EU Fisheries Council has agreed on a regulation setting the 2018 catch limits for the main commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic and North Sea. On 13 December 2017 after all-night negotiations, the Council reached a political agreement on a regulation concerning the 2018 fishing opportunities for the main commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea. Critical comment and analysis on the outcomes have been made by a number fisheries NGOs


“Brussels, December 13, 2017:- Despite a legal commitment to end overfishing in European waters by 2015, or progressively by 2020 at the latest, EU fisheries ministers today agreed to forgo legal, scientific and moral obligations, and continue legalised overfishing for a number of fish stocks in the North Sea and Atlantic, according to campaign group Our Fish.”

Seas At Risk

“Early this morning European Fisheries Ministers have made progress towards the goal to end overfishing in the Atlantic and North Sea in 2018, though they still have set many quotas above the fishing limits that scientists had advised to ensure sustainable fisheries.  These decisions are at odds with the legal obligation of EU Member States to end overfishing by 2020 at the latest.”

Pew Trusts

“As their annual end-to-the-year meeting closed on 13 December, the 28 fisheries ministers who sit on the Council of the European Union again set some fishing limits for Atlantic Ocean and North Sea stocks higher than scientists had advised and higher than the European Commission had proposed. Council deliberations went through the night and officials have not yet made all the details available on how 2018 fishing limits were calculated.”

Regarding the critically endangered European eel

The Ministers decided to prohibited fishing for European eel, of over 12 cm in Union waters of ICES areas, including the Baltic Sea, for a consecutive three-month period to be determined by each member state between 1 September 2018 and 31 January 2019. This falls far short of the zero or as close to zero mortality recommended by ICES.

The details of the Council agreement are now available


NGO Joint recommendations for 2018 total allowable catches

NGOs, including the Fisheries Secretariat, made joint recommendations prior to the Council meeting. In due course we will provide a comparison between the advice and the outcome.