As every December, Fisheries Ministers reached a compromise agreement for Total Allocated Catches (TACs) and quotas for the main commercial species in EU waters for 2013.
At the end of a very long meeting which continued until the early hours of the morning of 20 December, the Ministers agreed TACs which were, in many cases, higher than those proposed the European Commission, but which set catch limits aimed at achieving Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) for many stocks by 2015.
Following the meeting, Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, announced: “The Commission proposal was more ambitious but I think the outcome is satisfactory…. an agreement was reached to reach sustainable exploitation levels (MSY) by 2015 for the great majority of the stocks on which we have scientific advice.”
Environmental NGOs were less positive about the outcome. Although welcoming the effort made to reach MSY, many were concerned about the continued setting of TACs higher than scientific recommendations. Greenpeace stated, “Science must form the basis of decision making on quotas by the Council ….. Short-term vision and the industrial fisheries lobby must not dictate a result that will endanger the long-term health of our seas.”