Deep-sea fisheries

Deep-sea fisheries

Deep-sea fisheries

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Deep-sea fisheries

Deep-sea species are caught in depths of up to 1,500 metres, beyond the main fishing grounds of the continental shelves. This is a fragile environment. Once damaged, it is unlikely to recover. Highly vulnerable to fishing, deep-sea fish stocks are quick to collapse and slow to recover because they reproduce at low rates. Deep-sea species include fish such as alfonsinos, black scabbardfish, roundnose grenadier, red seabream and some sharks species.

Deep-sea fisheries in the EU account for less than 1% of all fish caught in the North-East Atlantic. 

Every two years, the EU fisheries ministers set total allowable catches (TACs) for a limited number of deep-sea species, based on a proposal from the European Commission.

Deep-sea access regulation

In 2016, the Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached an agreement on how to improve the state of deep-sea stocks and vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems by setting out clear rules and limits for access to these fisheries and fishing grounds. The rules are fully in line with the sustainability targets of the common fisheries policy: they aim to better protect deep-sea fish, sponges and corals by closing certain vulnerable areas and increasing scientific knowledge of deep-sea life while maintaining viable fisheries.

With this regulation

  • fishers may only target deep-sea fish in areas where they have fished in the past (their so-called 'fishing footprint'), thereby ensuring that pristine environments remain untouched
  • trawls below 800m are banned completely in EU waters, and areas with vulnerable marine environments (VMEs) are closed to bottom fishing below 400m
  • to further protect VMEs, fishers have to report how many deep-sea sponges or corals they catch and move on to other fishing grounds in case a certain maximum amount has been reached
  • a reinforced observers' scheme improves the scientific understanding of the deep sea
  • specific measures, for example landings in designated ports, are in place to improve enforcement and control

Reporting on deep-sea fishing

Member States must submit annual reports containing data on deep-sea fishing: the number of vessels involved, their fishing area, the type of gear, the size, the number of fishing authorisations issued, their port of origin, the total deep-sea fishing opportunities available to its vessels and the total use of these fishing opportunities. 

2018 

•    Belgium has not issued any licenses to fish neither target nor by-catch fisheries to the Belgian vessels in 2018.
•    Denmark
•    Estonia
•    Finland has not issued any licenses to fish neither target nor by-catch fisheries to the Finnish vessels in 2018.
•    France
•    Germany
•    Ireland
•    Latvia
•    Lithuania has not issued any licenses to fish neither target nor by-catch fisheries to the Lithuanian vessels in 2018.
•    Netherlands
•    Poland has not issued any licenses to fish neither target nor by-catch fisheries to the Polish vessels in 2018.
•    Portugal
•    Spain
•    Sweden - Sweden has not issued any licenses to fish neither target nor by-catch fisheries to the Swedish vessels in 2018.
•    United Kingdom

2017

•    Belgium has not issued any licenses to fish neither target nor by-catch fisheries to the Belgian vessels in 2017.
•    Denmark has not issued any licenses to fish neither target nor by-catch fisheries to the Danish vessels in 2017.
•    Estonia
•    Finland has not issued any licenses to fish neither target nor by-catch fisheries to the Finnish vessels in 2017.
•    France
•    Germany
•    Ireland
•    Latvia
•    Lithuania
•    Netherlands
•    Poland
•    Portugal
•    Spain
•    Sweden has not issued any licenses to fish neither target nor by-catch fisheries to the Swedish vessels in 2017.
•    United Kingdom

Documents

Deep-sea access regulation (EU) 2016/2336

 
Links

A better future for the EU deep sea

Fishing quotas