The EU co-legislators have reached an agreement during an informal trilogue, on the Commission's proposal from August 2016. The new North Sea plan is the first comprehensive plan for this sea basin and the second multiannual plan for the EU, following the one for the Baltic Sea reached in 2016.
Commissioner Karmenu Vella stated: "I am very pleased with today's political agreement, as it signals the EU's determination to protect the future of our fishing industry and coastal communities. The North Sea is one of Europe's richest fishing grounds and only with long-term and sound planning, we can provide the necessary predictability and profitability to our fishermen for the long run. Today's agreement shows that the EU lives up and continues to pursue its ambitious commitments for more sustainable fisheries made at the Our Ocean Conference 2017 in Malta".
The fisheries of the North Sea are highly complex, involving vessels from at least seven coastal Member States, as well as Norway. Vessels use a variety of fishing equipment and their catches consist of a mix of different species, such as cod and haddock, or plaice and sole. Today's agreement is for a plan for demersal fish stocks, i.e. fish that live and feed near the bottom of the sea.
The agreement includes ranges within which sustainable catch limits can be set on the basis of the best available scientific advice, as well as rules on recreational fisheries where it has a significant impact on the relevant stocks.