Press Releases :: Paving the way for sustainable fishing in the Baltic Sea - Council and Parliament agree on multiannual plan for Baltic fisheries
(16/03/2016) On 15 March, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on a multiannual plan for the most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea, following a Commission proposal in 2014. This is the first of a new generation of fisheries management plans that implement the EU's reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and that aim to make the management of fish stocks more flexible and more sea-basin specific.
In keeping with the CFP's emphasis on regionalisation, the agreed plan empowers regional decision-making on technical issues that are best decided at the level of the Baltic sea basin. Member States will also be able to decide on how best to implement the landing obligation – a key part of the CFP's drive for greater sustainability.
While Member States get a greater say on managing fisheries in their sea basin, the plan stays true to the fundamental objective of the CFP: a commitment to reach fully sustainable fisheries by 2020 at the latest. To this end, the plan not only aims to meet maximum sustainable yield (MSY) targets for cod, herring and sprat, but also contains a number of "safeguard measures" that will be triggered in case stocks fall below certain thresholds. Such additional management measures to reach MSY could, as a last resort, include a full closure of fisheries to allow fish stocks to recover.
In line with the precautionary approach, the plan also allows Member States to agree on conservation measures for flatfish, which are unavoidable bycatch in cod fisheries in the Baltic Sea and for which MSY advice is not available.
Commissioner Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, welcomed the agreement: "This plan sets the basis for the sustainable management of the most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea. This is good news for Baltic fish stocks and for the fishermen who depend on them for their livelihood."
The plan still needs to be formally adopted by the Parliament and the Council. A first revision is planned after three years, with further revision opportunities every five years after that.
The Commission will now move forward with proposals for other sea basins. A proposal for a multiannual plan for the North Sea is next on the list.