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Joint NGO recommendations on Baltic Sea fishing opportunities for 2020

June 10, 2019

In October 2019, EU fisheries ministers will agree on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2020. This will be the final Council meeting where fisheries ministers have the opportunity to end overfishing of Baltic Sea species by 2020, as is legally required by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

We urge the European Commission (EC) to propose, and the Council to agree on, Total Allowable Catches (TACs) in accordance with the following recommendations:
  • Set TACs not exceeding scientifically advised levels based on the Maximum Sustainable Yield(MSY) approach for all stocks for which MSY-based reference points are available.
  • Where MSY-based reference points are not available, to not exceed the precautionary approach catch limits advised by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
  • Set TACs not exceeding the FMSY point value specified in the Baltic Multi-Annual Plan (MAP), following the ICES MSY Advice Rule when spawning stock biomass (SBB) is below the MSY Btrigger reference point.
  • Take into account the lack of implementation of the Landing Obligation (LO) when setting TACs, and ensure that TACs are respected by increasing monitoring and control of the LO.
Read the NGO briefing here.


EU Control Regulation Review – factsheets

March 15, 2019

The following factsheets present the NGO priorities on the revision of the:

EU Control Regulation

Remote Electronic Monitoring

Sanctions

Traceability

Transparency

IUU

Small-scale fisheries

The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA)

These call on decision-makers to:
  • Ensure full compliance with the landing obligation;
  • Adapt the general control framework to the control of technical measures;
  • Maintain and improve the EU legal framework for enforcement and sanctions;
  • Mandate the use of cost-efficient tracking devices and the electronic reporting of catches and fishing operations for small-scale vessels;
  • Improve the control of recreational fisheries;
  • Improve traceability requirements;
  • Improve data management and sharing;
  • Ensure the monitoring and control of fleet capacity;
  • Effectively control fishing in restricted and marine protected areas;
  • Introduce transparency requirements;
  • Minimise the amendments to the EU IUU Regulation by staying within the scope of the Commission’s proposal and by strengthening only those provisions opened for review;
  • Revise the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) mandate.


Joint NGO proposal to EU Ministers regarding European eel

December 7, 2018

In a proposal to Ministers ahead of the December Council meeting several organisations have called for the full implementation of the ICES advice for the critically endangered European eel and suggested improvements regarding the fishery closure periods that were implemented last year.


Too many vessels chase too few fish – report on overcapacity in the EU

December 4, 2018

A new report from the Fisheries Secretariat shows that EU rules regarding fishing capacity are not being followed in the Baltic region. Member States have fudged their figures, obscuring which fleet segments and vessels fish on which stocks and the European Commission has not revised its guidelines in order to ensure clarity, as recommended by its own advisory committee.

There is clear evidence that overcapacity has been used to influence quota negotiations at the EU Council, however, despite EU subsidy funding being based on there being no overcapacity the Commission has not taken action to follow through.

Article 22 of the EU Common Fisheries Policy requires Member States to adjust the fishing capacity of its fleet to the available fishing opportunities.

Overcapacity should be identified and addressed, in order to achieve a better balance with the harvested stocks, avoid overfishing, reduce incentives for discarding and other illegal practices, and avoid the socioeconomic problems caused by too many vessels competing over limited quotas. However, the system put in place to address overcapacity in 2013 fails at just about every step, according to the report.

You can read our news story on the report here

We have also produced national summaries for Denmark, Germany and Poland.


Summary of ICES advice on Baltic stocks for 2019

June 12, 2018

On 31 May 2018, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Advisory Committee published their advice regarding the exploitation of the Baltic Sea fish stocks for 2019. Here we provide a summary and comment on the assessments and advice.

A table with the summary of the ICES advice can be found here.


Joint NGO letter to BALTFISH – spatial mangement of the sprat fishery

April 25, 2018

Nine organiations from across the Baltic region have written to BALTFISH requesting the adoption of the ICES recommendations with regards to sprat management.
For several years ICES have advised that "a spatial management plan is developed for the fisheries that catch sprat, with the aim to improve cod condition....[and] restrictions on sprat catches taken in the main cod area should be established."
Redirecting the sprat fishery away from subdivisions 25 and 26 would likely provide more food for the cod in these areas, where the cod stock is most dense however is marked by stunted growth. There are clear ecosystem interactions between sprat and cod which managers should take into account.
Spatial management of the fishery would also allow cluepids (herring and sprat) to grow larger in the more northern areas of the Baltic Sea where their population density is higher. In addition, a lower incidence of the M74 disease in salmon populations would be expected as a result of a reduced proportion sprat in their diet.
We recommend that BALTFISH adopts the recommendations for the spatial management of sprat as this would likely benefit all the main commercial stocks in the Baltic Sea.


FishSec EBFM Recommendations

June 27, 2017

FishSec has completed a set of recommendations for the implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) in the Baltic Sea region. The recommendations are based on the EBFM seminar in June 2016 that was organised by Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre, The Fisheries Secretariat (FishSec) and the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in Stockholm.


Summary of ICES advice on Baltic stocks for 2018

June 1, 2017

On 31 May 2017, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Advisory Committee published their advice regarding the exploitation of the Baltic Sea fish stocks for 2018. Here we provide a summary and comment on the assessments and advice.

A table with the summary of the ICES advice can be found here.


Summary of ICES advice on Baltic stocks for 2017

June 1, 2016

On 31 May 2016, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Advisory Committee published their advice regarding the exploitation of the Baltic Sea fish stocks for 2017. Here we provide a summary and comment on the assessments and advice.