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  1. #371
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    EuropÍche delivers warning on North Sea MAP proposals

    http://fiskerforum.dk/en/news/b/euro...-map-proposals

    With the North Sea MAP about to be discussed by the European PECH Committee, EuropÍche has welcomed the proposal for a multiannual plan to manage demersal species, but is less than satisfied with the proposed measures.

    ‘EuropÍche welcomes the European Commission legislative proposal aimed at providing a solid multiannual plan to manage demersal species (i.e. species living close to the sea bottom) in the North Sea,’ a EuropÍche spokesman said.

    ‘However, we are generally dissatisfied with the proposed measures,’ he said, commenting that while the plan should aim to respond to the challenges from the landing obligation and to tackle the complexities of mixed fisheries, but fails to do this.

    ‘Mixed fisheries represent a particular challenge since the stocks are characterised by numerous interactions and unexpected population trends; not easily predictable with the current scientific instruments available,” EuropÍche stated.

    ‘Scientific institutes lack the resources, both financially and staff-wise to build models covering the mixed fisheries.’

    EuropÍche argues that the Council position is much closer to reality, since so far it proposes to thoroughly manage the main target species (MSY) while monitoring the sustainable harvesting of non-target species (precautionary approach).

    ‘Governing by-catch and minor species under more stringent TACs would certainly accentuate the choke species problem. Furthermore, the introduction of target value ranges instead of point targets is also a big step forward,’ EuropÍche’s spokesman said.

    ‘However, we criticise the artificial split of the ranges which is not scientifically justifiable. A range is a range, valid from the lower beginning until the upper end. Finally, in the context of the landing obligation, the plan should be reviewed more frequently than is proposed to ensure its smooth running.’

    Source: EuropÍche

  2. #372
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    Europe’s fisheries and policies success is no coincidence

    http://fiskerforum.dk/en/news/b/euro...no-coincidence

    The European Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) has recently published its annual report on the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as regards the progress on the situation of the fish stocks and exploitation levels.

    According to EuropÍche, decades of self-sacrifice is returning Europe’s fisheries to greatness, since the report clearly shows that status of stocks is improving significantly. It also reflects an overall downward trend in the fishing pressure.

    ‘Additional efforts are still needed, particularly in the Mediterranean,’ EuropÍche comments on the report by STECF, the European Commission's scientific body which provides independent scientific advice and supports the implementation of the CFP.

    STECF’s data enables policy-makers to build their decisions on robust and sound knowledge about the level of exploitation that fish stocks can sustain as well as effects of fishing on marine ecosystems.

    STECF report provides evidence of positive trends in many fish stocks across Europe. For instance, when stating that among the almost 70 stocks fully assessed, the proportion of overexploited stocks decreased from more than 70% to close to 40% over the last ten years. In addition, the report points out that the proportion of the assessed stocks outside the safe biological limits follows the same decreasing trend, from 65% in 2003 to 38% in 2015.

    Concerning the exploitation rates of fish stocks, the STECF report also brings good news since around half of the stocks assessed have reached sustainable levels, in line with the objectives set in the CFP, well before the given 2020 deadline given. As regards the trend in biomass, the report shows improvement in all EU waters, with the exception of the Mediterranean and Black sea. For the fully assessed stocks, the biomass ratio in 2015 is around 35% higher than in 2003.

    ‘Many stocks in Europe have recovered and currently delivering sustainable catches,’ said EuropÍche President Javier Garat.

    ‘This is not a coincidence or a fortunate accident; it came at the expense of the many efforts made by the fishing industry, which respected stringent TACs and suffered a strong reduction of fleets. Just to give an example, despite the enlargements of the EU, the number of EU vessels in 2015 was 85,154; which is 18,693 fewer than in 1996. We welcome that these sacrifices are paying off and result in higher catches, better economic performance and reduction of fuel consumption. We are not complacent though, the fishing sector looks forward to continuing its close collaboration with scientists, governments and the European Commission to increase the number of fish stocks at sustainable levels, improve knowledge on data deficient stocks, minimise any possible impact on the environment and operate within the limits set in the CFP,’ he said, but added a word of warning regarding the Mediterranean.

    ‘As far as the Mediterranean is concerned, while acknowledging the delicate state of the stocks, the fishing sector has taken the lead on the recovery of the Mediterranean together with the EU, scientific community and governments. The spectacular recovery of bluefin tuna, whose quota has been increased by 20% every year, is an illustrative example of the high potential for recovery.’

    ‘The STECF report shows the very good status of most of our target stocks,’ said EAPO President Pim Visser, commenting on the graphs supplied as part of the STECF report.

    ‘Numerous successful stories are found in many fisheries in the north-east Atlantic. The fisheries of many of these stocks are certified under the MSC standard which in itself is proof of the healthy status and the sound management of these stocks. A very remarkable example is the Plaice in the North Sea, also MSC certified, which counts with the highest level of biomass ever reported (226.008 tonnes in 2002 compared to 945.709 tonnes in 2016). The report also shows the need to improve factual knowledge of high quality on stocks which have not been studied in detail so far. In this day and age, proxy approaches of limited quality no longer suffice.’

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    Source: EuropÍche

  3. #373
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  4. #374
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    Landmark meeting on skates and rays

    http://fiskerforum.dk/en/news/b/land...kates-and-rays

    A meeting of stakeholders, scientists and policy officials organised by the Commission to discuss alternative ways of managing the skates and ray stocks was held recently in Brussels. According to the NFFO, the very fact that such a meeting took place, and at the request of the member states, is significant.

    ‘This suggests that there is now general recognition that the current arrangement serves neither the industry, eager to harvest abundant species, like thornback or undulate ray, nor provides sufficient protection for other ray species that may (or may not) be depleted,’ The NFFO states.

    ‘The whole issue has been mired in a mist of data-deficiency and blunt management measures for several years, not least the misconceived prohibition on the landing of small-eyed ray and blond ray. There is now a glimmer of hope that a way forward can be found. What science there is confirms that some ray stocks of commercial interest are doing very well.’

    Throughout the meeting there was broad agreement that the management of these fisheries is not fit for purpose, with sustainable fisheries on some ray species being thwarted and fishing opportunities lost. In addition, group skates and ray TAC covering 15 individual species is being dragged down by the weakest species while a blunt application of the precautionary approach drove the overall TAC downward by repeated 20% cuts over successive years, creating a significant regulatory discard problem in mixed fisheries where none previously existed; we are now dealing with the legacy of this blinkered approach.

    According to the NFFO, a combination of data deficiency and the precautionary approach is now denying the fishing industry access to an important resource while doing little or nothing for those species which may need additional protection.

    ‘Species identification of and therefore the quality of official catch statistics, is a major problem. A very low group TAC, as at present, or an individual TAC for each of the15 species, will prove to be the ultimate choke when skates and ray fall under the landings obligation on 1st January 2019,’ the NFFO’s spokesman said.

    ‘Ray populations can be very loyal to specific areas but the TAC areas are frequently poorly aligned with the biological realities. Alternative ways of protecting individual sub-species, such as spatial and temporal measures, are likely to be more effective than their inclusion in a group TAC, if they are well designed, and there is good reason to believe that many ray species demonstrate high survival when returned to the sea promptly after capture but the evidence necessary to demonstrate this conclusively is not yet there and will not be for some time, making high survival exemptions from the landings obligation problematic.’

    The looming problems associated with the incorporation of skates and ray under the landings obligation has been one of the main drivers for holding this meeting in the first place, although the issue has also been giving grief to all concerned at successive December Councils.

    The Commission’s Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries will now be asked to evaluate a range alternative options with a report produced in late autumn. This will inform future management decisions. The participants in the meeting will have the opportunity to comment on the terms of reference before they go to STECF.

    The industry has highlighted the inadequacy of the current arrangements and stressed the need for a new approach and has supported the views of fishermen in the room with knowledge based on practical and direct experience of local fisheries. While conceding that there was a problem of limited data on some species, the industry has questioned whether there was a generalised problem, against the background of dramatically reduced fishing mortality across all areas and all the main species groups in the NE Atlantic since 2000, as well as positive stock trends on associated species.

    ‘Although the speed at which the Commission moved to disapply the TAC for dab and flounder suggests that a new realism may be awakening in the Commission, the worry is that at least another year will go by struggling with a dysfunctional approach to the management of skates and ray,’ The NFFO states.

    ‘The obvious solution would be an interim measure in 2018 with a separate TAC for those stocks like thornback that are abundant, whilst continuing to develop innovative but realistic protective measures for where it is needed in time for 1st January 2019.’

    ‘The Brexit-shaped elephant in the room was alluded to on several occasions but as the skates and ray stocks will continued to be shared after the UK leaves the EU (and therefore the CFP), the work done in this meeting will be relevant under any scenario. Ensuring adequate fishing opportunities for fishermen, while affording stock protection where it is needed will be at the focus of management concerns, whatever the regime.’

    Source: NFFO

  5. #375
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    Quotas ‘must be based on science’

    https://www.fishupdate.com/quotas-must-based-science/

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    North Sea Cod meets MSC standards !!

    https://www.undercurrentnews.com/201...fication-body/

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    Positive outlook for North Sea groundfish

    http://fiskerforum.dk/en/news/b/posi...sea-groundfish

    According to the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, advice for next year's quota for cod, haddock and whiting in the North Sea is for an increase.

    The quota advice comes from ICES, to which the Norwegian IMR is a key contributor.

    ‘It has been a while since we have had seen ‘our’ demersal stocks in such a good state in the North Sea,’ commented researcher Geir Huse.

    The cod stock is reported to be in a relatively good state, with advice for a 60,000 tonne quota, an increase of almost 26% over last year. The recommendation for whiting is 27,000 tonnes, up 16% compared to this year

    Haddock is reported to be in good condition, but has suffered from poor recruitment in recent years. The recommendation is for a 40,000 tonnes quota, a 29% lift.

    There is some uncertainty over saithe recruitment, and the recommendation is for a 118,000 tonne quota, down 11% compared to this year, while the plaice advice is for 134,000 tonnes, a 15% reduction, although the stock is judged to be in a healthy state.

    Source: IMR

  8. #378
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    Significant progress towards sustainable EU fisheries

    http://fiskerforum.dk/en/news/b/sign...e-eu-fisheries

    The European Commission (EC) has launched its annual consultation on setting fishing opportunities for 2018. As a novelty, this year it is accompanied by a communication which, besides setting the traditional principles underpinning the EC's proposal for Atlantic and North Sea fish quotas (TACs) in 2018, provides an overview on progress made towards achieving of CFP objectives.

    European fishing industry organisation EuropÍche is very pleased with this new approach since it provides European citizens with objective information in a digestible manner, and also welcomes the upward trends in many fish stocks and sustainable exploitation levels across Europe as revealed by the latest scientific data.

    Concerning the progress made in implementing the CFP and achieving sustainable fisheries, the Communication positively reports that overall, overexploitation has declined drastically across all areas (with the exception of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea). The document also reflects an annual improvement in the number of TACs set at levels which can produce maximum sustainable yield (MSY), which represent now 61% of the total catches in the North-East Atlantic (44 stocks).

    ‘Many stocks have recovered and are now delivering increased sustainable catches; this confirms that EU fisheries management has been successful. This also proves that there was no need for the introduction of radical measures such as the landing obligation, which is being a nightmare for fishers, particularly in the North Sea and South Western Waters for demersal fisheries,’ said President of EuropÍche Javier Garat.

    ‘In order to find viable solutions, we welcome the EC readiness to scrap, where possible, TACs that may be conflicting with the implementation of the discard ban. However, given that the phasing-in of the most problematic species has been scheduled for 2019, we encourage the EC and Member States to use all available measures enshrined in the CFP such as realistic uplifts in quota and close monitoring and frequent choke analyses.’

    The Commission’s analysis also shows the recovery of many stocks, since the average biomass in the North-East Atlantic was 35% higher in 2015 than in 2003. It also reflects a better balance between fishing opportunities and fishing capacity since between 2007 and 2015 the capacity fell steadily, with the number of fishing vessels decreasing by 6%, engine power by 14% and tonnage by 24%. The Communication also confirms the overall improved economic performance of the EU’s fishing fleet, registering an unprecedented net profit of €770 million in 2014 (50% increase over 2013). The sector contributed €3.7 billion to the EU economy in 2014.

    By contrast, the overall picture in the Mediterranean Sea calls for more sustained efforts. The positive note is that certain stocks are fished at sustainable rates and fleets are making progress. Bluefin tuna is reported to be at possibly the highest biomass levels ever recorded which led to a steady increase of the TAC by 25%.

    ‘The recent EC proposal for a multiannual plan for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic would set a devastating scenario for the sector since the measures proposed would cause by 2021 a decrease in sardine and anchovy catches of +/- 25-30%, in revenue of +/- 25% and in employment of +/- 10%,’ Javier Garat commented.

    ‘To stress the gravity of the problem, the Communication states that overall employment continues to decline. We regret that this proposal did not follow the advice adopted by consensus within the Mediterranean Sea Advisory Council (MEDAC) which proposed reasonable and effective management measures, less damaging for the industry.’

    The Communication states that many fisheries fall now under the landing obligation. The EC commits to make use of available tools to mitigate choke species effects and marketing of undersized catches.

    EuropÍche warns that the choke species impact is still unknown and cannot be underestimated since it would prevent fishers to fully utilise their fishing opportunities and lead to significant economic losses which is in stark contradiction with Art. 39 TFUE and Art. 16.1 CFP.

    Concerning the proposals for 2018 TACs, the EC intends to propose these in line with achieving MSY exploitation rates the next year and encourage the Council to align its decisions with this approach.

    ‘The sector agrees with the EC on the need to achieve the maximum number of stocks at MSY levels as soon as possible. However, this cannot be done at any cost and without taking into due consideration socio-economic factors,’ Javier Garat said.

    ‘Scientists offer several scenarios in their annual advice in order to achieve MSY levels in 2018, 2019 or 2020. We call upon the EC and the Council of Fisheries Ministers to set TACs for every fishery according to the best scenario that guarantees a sustainable fishing activity from an environmental, social and economic point of view. This would allow to progressively achieving the CFP objectives within the legal time period given, i.e. 2020.’

    Source: EuropÍche

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    Concern over EU plans for demersal stocks

    http://fiskerforum.dk/en/news/b/conc...emersal-stocks

    The European Parliament’s vote on multi-annual plan for demersal fish stocks in the North Sea poses concerns to industry, according to fishing industry body EuropÍche.

    The European Parliament Committee on Fisheries has adopted its position on the European Commission’s proposal establishing a multi-annual plan for demersal stocks in the North Sea. EuropÍche has welcomed this as a decisive step forward towards the final adoption of this legislative proposal which, in the context of regionalisation, will bring decision-making closer to fishers operating in this area.

    However, EuropÍche states that certain measures adopted by the European Parliament, such as the introduction of multiannual fishing quotas for certain stocks, would pose a threat to the implementation of the landing obligation and therefore would fail to tackle the complexities of mixed fisheries.

    ‘We are convinced the EP has delivered an important contribution towards the trilogue discussions leading to a new multi-annual management plan for the North Sea,’ said Pim Visser of VisNed/EuropÍche.

    ‘We are however deeply concerned that in its current form, as proposed by the EP, this plan will be hindering managers in carrying out their fishing operations in a sustainable and economically viable way. On the contrary, the stipulations as formulated by the EP Committee on Fisheries will lead to quota setting for certain species which will be choking the mixed demersal fisheries in the North Sea.’

    He commented that the North Sea is one of the healthiest seas in Europe, with almost 60% of landings coming from stocks at the highest levels of biological sustainability. Other stocks are expected to gradually reach these levels, thanks to the reduction of fishing effort and better recruitment over the past few years. The introduction of the new regionalised legal framework intends to guarantee this positive trend in the long-term securing both sustainable fishing opportunities and the livelihoods of fishermen.

    He said that EuropÍche appreciates the establishment of different ranges instead of point targets, within which the Council can set the annual Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and achieve sustainable levels for the stocks covered by the plan at the latest by 2020. But the organisation has severe reservations over what it sees as an artificial split of the ranges which is scientifically non-justifiable.

    ‘A range is a range and should be valid from the lower beginning until the upper end,’ he said.

    Contrary to the European Parliament’s position, EuropÍche considers that recreational fisheries should not be covered by this plan since the activity is not regulated by Common Fisheries Policy and there is no previous impact assessment performed by the European Commission in its proposal on the subject.

    ‘The fishing industry expects a plan able to cope with the challenges from the landing obligation and to tackle the complexities of mixed-fisheries. The latter represents a particular challenge since the stocks are characterised by numerous interactions and unexpected population trends not easily predictable with the current scientific instruments available,’ he said, adding that scientific institutes lack the resources, both financially and staff-wise to build models covering the mixed-fisheries.

    EuropÍche argues that the Council position is more realistic since so far they propose to thoroughly manage the main target species (Maximum Sustainable Yield assessment) while monitoring the sustainable harvesting of non-target species (precautionary approach). Governing by-catch and minor species under more stringent TACs and quotas would certainly accentuate the choke species problem.

    ‘Whether this plan would be good enough to adequately regulate demersal fisheries in the North Sea under the Common Fisheries Policy very much depends on the future trilogue negotiations.’ Pim Visser said. ‘We believe that the current design can be and must be further improved in order to make the plan flexible and responsive to the evolving realities of fisheries.’

    Source: EuropÍche

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