The Council has reached an agreement on the fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2024, following the Commission proposal made in August this year. The Council has followed the proposal as regards total allowable catch (TACs) for three stocks – plaice (roll-over), salmon in the Gulf of Finland (+7%) and salmon in the main basin (-15%).
In view of the specific environmental situation of the Baltic Sea, the Council has decided to set by-catch allowances for the stocks of western herring, western cod and eastern cod, which means they can only be taken when accidentally caught while fishing for other stocks. Moreover, the existing remedial measures are kept. Today’s agreement thus allows healthy fisheries of plaice, Riga herring, salmon in the Gulf of Finland and sprat to continue.
The Council also decided to allow targeted fisheries on central Baltic herring and Bothnian herring, with TACs of 40 368t and 55 000t respectively. For central herring a 30-day closure is introduced to protect aggregation of spawners.
Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Today’s decision was not taken easily, nor lightly, but we have a responsibility to set the fishing opportunities at levels that can help the stocks recover to the benefit of our fishers and their communities. We should not shy away from addressing our most pressing challenge: the environmental status of the Baltic Sea. Our fishers are awaiting concrete actions from their countries to improve the condition of the Baltic Sea. I have said it many times before and repeated it again today to Ministers: it is time to save the Baltic Sea.”
The Baltic Sea is the most polluted sea in Europe. It is affected by biodiversity loss, climate change, eutrophication, overfishing, and elevated levels of contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and litter.
Commissioner Sinkevičius‘ press statement following the Council can be found here.
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