Yesterday the European Commission tabled its proposal for fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2013.
Five species are covered by the proposal: cod, herring sprat, salmon and plaice. The Commission’s recommendations are on the whole in line with scientific advice. Total allowable catches (TAC) for herring, sprat and plaice are to be raised, while those for cod and salmon reduced.
The Commission argues the increases are justified because the number of stocks fished at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) will increase and could rise from three to six in 2013.
The most controversial TAC proposal is that for salmon. The Commission has recommended a reduction of 11%, despite scientific recommendations for a much larger decrease. The NGO Fisheries Secretariat is critical of the small reduction, stating, “With some salmon rivers in a vulnerable state, this could exacerbate problems for some locals stocks….. Given that Member States such as Finland and Sweden have already exhausted their 2012 quotas by August, there is pressure to persevere with an overly high level of fishing pressure for short-term gain”.
The proposals are scheduled to be negotiated by Fisheries Ministers at their October Council meeting.