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Fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2022

Fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2022
26 August 2021

Today, the European Commission adopted its proposal for fishing opportunities for 2022 for the Baltic Sea. Based on this proposal, EU countries will determine how much fish can be caught in the sea basin, for what concerns the most important commercial species.

The Commission proposes to increase fishing opportunities for herring in the Gulf of Riga, whilst maintaining the current levels for sprat, plaice and by-catches of eastern cod. The Commission proposes to decrease fishing opportunities for the remaining stocks covered by the proposal, in order to improve the sustainability of those stocks and to help other stocks, such as cod and herring, to recover.

Over the past decade, EU's fishermen and women, industry and public authorities have made major efforts to rebuild fish stocks in the Baltic Sea. Where complete scientific advice was available, fishing opportunities had already been set in line with the principle of maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for seven out of eight stocks, covering 95% of fish landings in volume. However, in 2019 scientists discovered that the situation was worse than previously estimated. Decisive action is still necessary to restore all stocks and ensure that they grow to or remain at sustainable levels.

The proposed total allowable catches (TACs) are based on the best available peer-reviewed scientific advice from the International Council on the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and follow the Baltic multiannual management plan adopted in 2016 by the European Parliament and the Council. As regards western Baltic cod, western Baltic herring, and salmon, the Commission will update its proposal once the relevant scientific advice is available (expected by mid-September).

The fishing opportunities proposal is part of the European Union's approach to adjust the levels of fishing to long-term sustainability targets, called maximum sustainable yield (MSY), by 2020 as agreed by the Council and the European Parliament in the Common Fisheries Policy. The Commission's proposal is also in line with the policy intentions expressed in the Commission's Communication “Towards more sustainable fishing in the EU: state of play and orientations for 2021” and with the Multiannual Plan for the management of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea.

Image © European Parliament, 2021

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