The plan sets target fishing mortality rates for the two most valuable and widespread commercial stocks in the Adriatic: anchovy and sardine. This represents a shift in the management of small pelagics towards an approach based on fixed fishing opportunities. The aim is to ensure sustainable stocks, and ultimately a healthier, more sustainable and more profitable fishing sector.
Small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic are currently managed through a combination of international, EU and national measures. As a result rules are fragmented, complex and constantly changing. This proposal consolidates and simplifies the existing framework. It also includes control mechanisms that are adapted to the specificities of small pelagic fisheries in the Adriatic. The result: a single and coherent set of rules that should be easier for both fishermen and national authorities to apply.
The Commission's proposal is consistent with other EU multi-annual plans, notably by building on the Baltic Sea plan adopted in 2016. Once adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, it will allow Adriatic Member States to deal with local fisheries specificities at a regional level, for instance by preparing joint recommendations on technical measures.
Today's proposal is the first proposal for a multi-annual plan in the Mediterranean and the third multi-annual plan adopted in line with the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), following plans for the Baltic and the North Sea. Under the CFP, multi-annual plans should contribute to achieving fishing at sustainable levels. They should also contain measures to implement the landing obligation, technical measures, as well as safeguards for remedial action where needed.
The Commission's proposal has gone through a thorough impact assessment and is based on the best available scientific advice from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STEFC). The Mediterranean Sea Advisory Council released its advice on the plan in March 2016. In addition, a wide-ranging online public consultation was carried out.
The plan mainly concerns Italy, Croatia and to a limited extent Slovenia. Small pelagic stocks represent a significant share of income for the fisheries sector in the Adriatic: estimated at €74 million in 2013, corresponding to 18% of total catches. Anchovy and sardine account for over 97% of catches of small pelagic fish in the Adriatic.