March 13, 2017

How can science help to implement the Landing Obligation?

As part of the DiscardLess, a project providing advice on the landing obligation (LO), a conference was held in association with the FAO to discuss the role of science. Strategies outlining tactical and technical solutions to minimise unwanted catches were presented as well as experiences from other countries that have implemented discard bans

March 7, 2017

Biomass in focus – implementing the CFP and reaching Bmsy

At the European Parliament hearing on “the state and development of the biomass of fish stocks managed by the CFP” the Commission reaffirmed the commitment to manage fish stocks above Bmsy.

March 1, 2017

Systemic dysfunction makes BSAC vice-chair resign

Edward Stern, FishSec Policy Officer, has stepped down from his elected position as vice chair of the Baltic Sea Advisory Council (BSAC). FishSec Director Jan Isakson will remain in BSAC as the FishSec representative. Edward will continue working with FishSec in other capacities.

February 28, 2017

BALTFISH established as a permanent ministerial forum

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

February 23, 2017

Commission asked by NGOs to intervene and protect threatened western Baltic cod stock

Fishing for cod in the western Baltic Sea is prohibited during the spawning season, which is all of February and March. However, the German administration allowed for a new flatfish fishery with a permissible 10% cod bycatch during the closed period. Denmark then followed suit. As a result there is now increased fishing pressure on a stock that is below the lowest biomass reference point and has been overfished for many years.

February 7, 2017

Monitoring, control and enforcement of Baltic Sea discard ban to be reviewed

A joint meeting with representatives from BSAC, BALTFISH and EFCA will be held in Hamburg, Germany, March 9, to review the monitoring, control and enforcement of the landing obligation that entered into force 1 January 2015 in the Baltic Sea. Still, one out of four cod caught in the Eastern Baltic stock was thrown back dead in the sea during 2015, amounting to 18 million individuals, according to ICES[1].

February 7, 2017

STECF gives DFPO rebuff on spatial fisheries closures

Over the past year the Danish Fishermen’s Producer Organisation, DFPO, has successfully been advocating to open up the western Baltic cod fishery during February and March. Their main argument has been a lack of scientific evidence that closures has a positive effect on the fish stocks, but without providing such data. Now The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) concludes that spatial closures benefit both increase spawning stock biomass and decrease fishing mortality.

February 7, 2017

Will BSAC move towards a fair and balanced external representation?

The Baltic Sea Advisory Council has a significant imbalance in which organisations represent the Council in external fora, a FishSec review shows. The Other Interest Group (OIGs) holds 40% of the seats and yet attends only 17% of the meetings on an annual basis. By contrast the fishing industry attends 58% of meetings and the Secretariat 25%. FIshSec has proposed measures to achieve a fair and balanced representation, but the Executive committee still struggles to take the final step and come to a decision.

January 10, 2017

LIFE rejects Individual Transferable Quotas

In a recent position paper the Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) have rejected Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) as a primary method of quota allocation because of the disproportionately negative impact they have on small scale coastal fishers and fishing communities.

January 4, 2017

Hypocrisy of the bottom trawling fleet

Following the quota reduction for western Baltic cod in 2017, the Fisheries Secretariat put forward a proposal to the Baltic Sea Advisory Council (BSAC). The proposal urges member states to support the most vulnerable fishers in line with Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). However, this proposal was not supported by a single member representing the industrial fleet in the executive committee (ExCom) meeting, 15 November 2016 in Copenhagen.