Ministers agree on fishing catch limits for 2016
EU ministers have reached an agreement on fishing opportunities for 2016 in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea, following discussions at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 14 and 15 December. Karmenu Vella, the EU’s Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, presented the Commission’s proposals which were the basis for negotiations.
Reacting to the outcome of the Council, Commissioner Vella said: „Our responsibility to our citizens and to the sector is to deliver on the objectives and ambitions of the Common Fisheries Policy. One of the fundamental objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy is that stocks are fished at a level that can keep them at maximum sustainable yield (MSY). We cannot jeopardise the longer term sustainability for the shorter term considerations. With this said, I am happy to announce that we have made good progress together with the Member States.“ The Commission’s goal, and one of the pillars of the EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), is to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels by 2020 at the latest. Fishing at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) levels allows the fishing industry to take the highest amount of fish from the sea while keeping fish stocks healthy. Europe started in 2009 with only 5 Total Allowable Catches of stocks at MSY. Yesterday’s agreement will bring 36 stocks to MSY in the North Sea, the Atlantic and the Baltic Sea and sets the foundation so that all stocks are fished at sustainable levels in the next two years.The CFP also aims to eliminate the wasteful practice of discards in EU fisheries by gradually introducing an obligation to land all catches. The agreement therefore includes so-called quota „top-ups“ for some fisheries that will come under the landing obligation in 2016.