Ahead of the 16-17 December Council meeting on Fisheries, the Commission has adopted its proposal for fishing opportunities in 2020 for 72 stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea.
For 32 stocks the fishing quota is either increased or remains the same; for 40 stocks the quota is reduced.
The fishing opportunities, or Total Allowable Catches (TACs), are quotas set for most commercial fish stocks in order to keep or restore healthy stocks, while allowing the industry to profit from fishing the highest amount of fish.
Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “The proposal consolidates our efforts for sustainable fishing in Atlantic and North Sea waters.
“Over the past years, we have had a steady rise in the number of healthy stocks, and – as a consequence – also a steady rise in the profits of our fishing sector. This is the result of responsible management and continuous implementation efforts, primarily by our fishermen, who are the first ones to implement our conservation measures and also the ones to benefit most from increased yields. With such sustained commitment, 2020 will be another year of progress for Europe’s fisheries.”
In line with the objectives and legal framework of the CFP the Commission is proposing fishing opportunities at “maximum sustainable yield” (MSY) for the stocks with a full scientific assessment, and at “precautionary levels” for other stocks.
Sustainable fishing has made substantial progress in the EU: in 2019, 59 stocks are being fished at MSY levels, up from 53 in 2018 and compared to only 5 in 2009.
This means that the fishing pressure on the stocks is limited to a level that will allow a healthy future for the fish stocks’ biomass, while taking into account socio-economic factors.
The Commission is working with Member States to support the fishermen in reaching the objective of fishing all stocks at sustainable levels by 2020, as set by the Common Fisheries Policy.
As the size of some key fish stocks is increasing – for instance, Haddock in the Celtic Sea and Sole in the Bristol Channel– so has the profitability of the fishing sector, with an estimated €1.3 billion gross profit for 2019.
The Commission’s proposal will be submitted for discussion and decision by the EU Member States at the Fisheries Council on 16-17 December in Brussels, to be applied as of 1 January 2020.