A first step towards more stability and predictability of fish stocks in European seas has been made following today's adoption by the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee of a multiannual plan for cod, herring and sprat stocks in the Baltic Sea. The legislation paves the way for the stability of catches thus giving better opportunities to local SMEs and fishermen.
"The plan for the Baltic Sea is the first of its kind established under the new Common Fisheries Policy. Similar plans for fish stocks in the North Sea region and Atlantic will follow, as well as for all other EU waters", explained Jarosław Wałęsa MEP, European Parliament Rapporteur and Chief Negotiator, after the vote. "The multi-species management approach is much more effective than the management of single species. It takes into account inter-species interactions, such as cods' influence on herring and sprat stocks and the other way around. The legislative agreement reached between the European Commission, Member States and the European Parliament will ensure there is a balanced and sustainable exploitation of these stocks and will guarantee the stability of the fishing opportunities and the livelihoods of fishermen", he said.
Cod, herring and sprat are the main fish stocks in the Baltic Sea region. While a management plan for the Baltic Sea cod stocks has been in place since 2007, herring and sprat stocks are not yet covered and quotas for their catches are set on an annual basis. The agreed plan will bring cod, herring and sprat stocks under one management plan in order to allow Member States to set the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and fishing quotas.
"The plan will ensure that the fishing activities in the Baltic are conducted in a sustainable, reasonable and economically viable way which will not put unnecessary strain on the environment", Wałęsa concluded.
The Report will be put to vote at the European Parliament plenary session in June. The plan will be applied for fixing fishing quotas for 2017.