Commission proposes fishing possibilities for 2022 in the Atlantic, Kattegat and Skagerrak

 The Commission today published its proposal for catches in Atlantic, Kattegat and Skagerrak fish stocks. On the basis of this proposal, EU fisheries ministers will adopt, at the Council meeting on 13 and 14 December 2021, the definitive fishing possibilities which will apply from 1 January 2022.

The Commission presents a proposal for 23 total allowable catches (TACs) for fish stocks managed exclusively by the EU in EU waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Kattegat and Skagerrak. The proposal will be updated after the conclusion of consultations with the UK and Norway and once the regional fisheries management organizations have made their decisions.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said: “The proposal presented today is an important step in the preservation of a healthy ecosystem and a profitable fishing. The Commission is committed to setting responsible catch limits in accordance with available scientific advice. Our biodiversity strategy makes it clear: our lives depend on the life of the oceans. Sustainability knows no boundaries. This is our guiding principle. ”

On the basis of scientific advice issued by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Commission proposes to reduce the TAC by more than 20% for four stocks: common sole in the Bay of Biscay, common sole in western Ireland, Norway lobster in Skagerrak and Kattegat; and cod in the Kattegat. The Commission proposes to maintain the ban on fishing targeting cod in Kattegat and to continue to allow bycatch. The objective is to avoid the end of sustainable fishing for Norway lobster in the area (ie a rapid exhaustion of the quota), as well as the safeguard measure aimed at increasing gear selectivity.

The Commission proposes to increase the TACs for five stocks, including plaice in Kattegat, common sole in Kattegat and Skagerrak, cardines in Iberian waters, anglerfish in the Cantabrian Sea and langoustine in the areas located to the south of the Bay of Biscay.

The proposal follows scientific advice very closely and 100% of the proposed TACs (9 stocks), for which advice was available, are at the level of maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

The proposal in detail

Four TACs are delegated to a Member State (Guyana shrimp to France, two stocks of horse mackerel in Portugal and one stock of horse mackerel to Spain). Scientific advice is still awaited for four other stocks (two stocks of common anchovy and two stocks of langoustine), while the TAC for one of the stocks of common anchovy (common anchovy in Iberian waters) has already been set. until June 2022.

Today's proposal also covers TACs that will be decided in cooperation with third countries, such as the UK and Norway, or through regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs). International consultations for these stocks are still ongoing and the corresponding TACs are therefore proposed on a provisional basis (with the mention “p.m.” or “for the record”), pending the outcome of the negotiations.

context

Fishing opportunities, or total allowable catches (TACs), are the quotas set for most European commercial fish stocks in order to keep them in a healthy state or to help them rebuild, while ensuring that EU fishermen and women alike have healthy fish stocks to guarantee their economic base. Under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), EU Member States are legally bound to manage fish stocks in a sustainable manner.

Sustainable fishing has made significant progress in the EU. In 2020, 62 out of 78 TACs were set at levels that provide a solid foundation for the future of the biomass of fish stocks and the fishermen, men and women, who depend on it, compared to only 5 out of 35 in 2009.

The Commission's proposal is based on scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). For stocks that have undergone a full scientific assessment, the Commission proposes fishing levels in accordance with the advice on maximum sustainable yield (MSY). For stocks for which there are fewer data available, the Commission proposal is based on the precautionary opinions. In cases where ICES recommends that there be no catches, the Commission either proposes a small fishing quota for scientific fishing to ensure continued data collection or limitste fishing for bycatch of the fish stock. In accordance with the provisions of the CFP and the applicable multiannual management plans, this prevents the emergence of situations of limiting quotas, which allows fishermen, men and women, to continue targeting healthy stocks.

Stakeholders were consulted on the basis of the Commission's annual communication 'Towards more sustainable fisheries in the EU: state of play and guidelines for 2022'.

To know more

See the tables below for more details on today's proposal for EU stocks managed exclusively by the EU.

Note: The “p.m.” TAC tables (for the record) appear in the proposal. The latter will be updated with figures once scientific advice is available or when the relevant international consultations have been completed. The Commission will publish these updates through non-papers, in line with recent commitments to increase transparency in setting fishing opportunities. TAC values ​​are rounded to the nearest tonne.

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