The Commission today has tabled its proposal on catch limits and quotas for the Black Sea ahead of the December Fisheries Council, where EU Member States will agree fishing quotas for 2018.
The proposal, which concerns Bulgaria and Romania, takes into account the best available scientific advice and is the outcome of this year's General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) Annual Session, which approved the first-ever multiannual management plan for the Black Sea.
For sprat, the Commission proposes to maintain a catch limit of 11,475 tonnes; 70% is allocated to Bulgaria and 30% to Romania.
For turbot, the Commission transposes in its proposal the quotas adopted in the GFCM management plan for turbot (114 tonnes for 2018 and 2019, 50% assigned to Bulgaria and 50% to Romania), including a 2-month closed period (15 April - 15 June) and limitation of fishing efforts to 180 days at sea per year.
Following the recent successful GFCM plenary, for the first time, the new management and control measures for two iconic Black Sea species will be implemented by all riparian countries. This marks remarkable progress in shifting towards an equal level playing-field in the region, and will also help to incentivise joint efforts to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Collectively, the Commission expects these measures to have a positive impact on stock recovery.
The Commission's proposal will be submitted for discussion and pronouncement by the Member States at the next Fisheries Council (11-12 December, Brussels), to be applied as from 1 January 2018.
The 41st GFCM annual session ushered a new era of cooperative fisheries management in the Black Sea, building on the Bucharest Declaration and the driving force for change created by the adoption of the Malta MedFish4ever Declaration.
For the first time, the new management and control measures for two iconic Black Sea species will be implemented by all riparian countries. The EU has been allocated, for 2018 and 2019, a share of the provisional turbot TAC of 114 tonnes, 50% assigned to Bulgaria and 50% to Romania. Complementary to the management measures and enforcing their effective implementation, an international inspection pilot project established with the assistance of the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) will contribute to the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the basin. The Commission will also promote training workshops for non-EU inspectors through the EFCA.
The Commission will continue promoting a multilateral approach to fisheries management in the Black Sea. Following the adoption of the GFCM multiannual management plan for turbot and the Regional Plan of Action against IUU fishing, new milestones for the next years have been set, in particular regarding the implementation of the GFCM 2017-2020 multi-annual strategy. A high-level conference will be held in June 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria, to establish a 10-year work plan to improve fisheries and aquaculture in the Black Sea. Lastly, riparian country will work on the implementation of the GFCM 'BlackSea4Fish' project for regional cooperation on research and data collection.