The European Commission has published its proposal setting out catch limits for fish stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea, with ratification from the European Council due in mid-December.
For 2021, the Commission presents a proposal with 23 total allowable catches (TACs) which is based on scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. The Commission proposes to decrease the quota for 13 stocks while increasing it for horse mackerel in the Iberian waters and sole in Kattegat by 5% and 12% respectively.
“Today’s proposal shows our commitment to preserving biodiversity at sea, which is the basis for our coastal communities to thrive,” said Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. “Scientists are telling us to set lower catch limits for many of our stocks, and we are following this advice. Setting responsible catch limits will keep our ecosystems healthy and our fishing sector profitable, even in the face of short-term cuts,” he added.
Following the advice from the ICES that no targeted fishery should take place for this stock, the Commission will set a fishing quota for by-catches only. The proposal also covers quotas that will be decided in cooperation with non-EU countries or through regional fisheries management organisations.
Sustainable fishing has made substantial progress in the EU. In 2020, 62 out of 78 TACs are set at a level that allows a healthy future for the fish stocks’ biomass compared to only five out of 35 in 2009.