Multi-annual plans set clear goals for sustainable management of specific stocks and map out the path to achieving them. They are used to keep exploitation of fish stocks at the level that gives the highest yield in the long run – a concept usually referred to as 'maximum sustainable yield ' (MSY) – and to rebuild overfished stocks. Each multiannual plan is based on a harvest control rule that is tailor-made for the fishery in question. This is a simple mathematical formula which converts quantifiable scientific data into proposed catch and effort limits for the coming year.
As a general rule, annual changes in TAC and effort should not exceed a certain percentage, except where stocks are under the most pressure. In this way, the plans also provide greater stability for the fishing industry and enable operators to plan ahead.
- Guide to EU fisheries policy [2 MB] – see chapter 6 ("Planning for the long term") [131 KB]
- Fact sheet on multi-annual plans [187 KB]
- Fact sheet on maximum sustainable yield [201 KB]
1. Recovery plan for cod: North Sea, Kattegat, Skagerrak, the eastern Channel, Irish Sea and West of Scotland
Agreed: February 2004, revised November 2008.
Areas covered: ICES III, IV, VIa, VIIa and VIId.
Target: originally, to increase the quantities of mature fish to sustainable levels; now, to reduce fishing mortality to rate which can maximise long-term sustainable yield. Initial fishing mortality target rate is set at 0.4. Rate of year-on-year changes in TAC varies with level of stock.
Special conditions: incentives for Member States to reduce discards and establish cod-avoidance programmes.
12/09/2012: Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 of 18 December 2008 establishing a long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks
Agreed: April 2004.
Areas covered: Kattegat, Skagerrak, North Sea, the Channel, West of Scotland, all around Ireland and Bay of Biscay.
Target: increase the quantities of mature fish in the Northern hake stock to at least 140 000 tonnes.
Agreed: 20 December 2005.
Areas covered: Cantabrian Sea and Western Iberian Peninsula.
Target: increase the spawning stock biomass of Southern hake to 35 000 tonnes for two consecutive years. For Norway lobster, rebuild stocks to within safe biological limits.
Agreed: 23 February 2006.
Areas covered: Bay of Biscay (ICES VIIIa and VIIIb).
Target: bring spawning stock biomass to above the precautionary level of 13 000 tonnes in 2008.
Specific conditions: vessels catching more than 2 000 kg of sole per year will require a special permit. A ceiling is set of 100 kg of sole per sea trip.
Agreed: 7 May 2007.
Areas covered: Western Channel (ICES VIIe).
Target: reduce fishing mortality rate by 20 % compared to the average of 2003-2005 or achieve a fishing mortality rate of 0.27 for appropriate age groups – whichever is the higher.
Agreed: 11 June 2007.
Area covered: North Sea.
Target: ensure precautionary biomass for plaice of 230 000 tonnes and for sole of 35 000 tonnes by gradually reducing fishing mortality on sole from its current level of 0.35 to 0.2 and on plaice from 0.58 to 0.3.
Agreed: 18 September 2007.
Area covered: EU estuaries and rivers that flow into seas in ICES areas III, IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX and the Mediterranean.
Target: national eel management plans should enable at least 40 % of the level of adult eels, which in the absence of fishing and other human activity would migrate, to be able to escape to the sea to spawn.
Agreed: 18 September 2007.
Area covered: ICES SD 22-32.
Target: ensure sustainable exploitation by gradually reducing and maintaining mortality rates no lower than 0.6 for cod between 3 and 6 years in the Western Baltic and 0.3 for cod between 4 and 7 years in the Eastern Baltic.
Special conditions: exclusion of small-scale vessels below 8m. Flexibility for effort management for small-scale vessels between 8 and 12 metres in length.
Agreed: 18 December 2008.
Area covered: international and EU waters in ICES zones Vb and VIb, and the northern part of ICES zone VIa excluding the Clyde.
Target: to reduce fishing mortality to rate which can maximise long-term sustainable yield. Target fishing mortality rate of 0.25 when stock is over 75 000 tonnes, and 0.2 when stock is between 75 000 and 50 000 tonnes. Closure triggered when stock falls below 50 000 tonnes. Rate of year-on-year changes in TAC varies with level of stock.
The European Commission has made the following proposals:
- Horse mackerel: plan proposed by the Commission on 21 April 2009.
- Anchovy: plan proposed by the Commission on 29 July 2009.
- Baltic Sea salmon: plan proposed by the Commission on 12 August 2011
Proposal amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 of 18 December 2008 establishing a long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks on 12 September 2012
The following plans are currently in preparation:
- long-term management framework for pelagic species in the Baltic Sea