Baltic fisheries negotiations suspended

Negotiations on the new management plan for Baltic Sea fisheries were suspended Wednesday night after Council and Parliament failed to agree on fishing limits.

« I am very disappointed with the attitude of the Council. They blatantly refuse to honour the Common Fisheries Reform. It seems like they insists on business as usual, keeping their right to over-exploit fish stocks, » said Jarosław Wałęsa (EPP, Poland), the European Parliament’s lead negotiator, in a press release.

As we have reported earlier on CFP Reform Watch, the Parliament and Council have very different views on how to set fishing limits in relation to the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).

During today’s negotiations, the Parliament said they see « FMSY » (see explanation) as an upper limit and catches should stay below this limit. This would allow fish stocks to grow above biomass levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield in the long term.

Exceeding this FMSY fishing limit would be a breach of the new fisheries legislation (article 2, to be precise).

According to Parliament sources, the Council negotiators would not say whether they see FMSY as an upper limit or as a target (meaning catches could go above FMSY). Reportedly, Council would instead refer to « scientific advice ».

But in their latest advice, the scientific organisation ICES clearly states that there are advantages of fishing less than MSY.

Because Council would not agree to set FMSY as an upper limit, the Parliament team decided to leave the negotiations until Member States can agree on a new negotiation mandate for Council.

Jarosław Wałęsa will hold a press conference Thursday morning at 9:15, which can be seen online.

Some reactions on Twitter:

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