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Thread: Days at sea / CFP / Quota talks

  1. #471
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    North Sea cod quota slash advised

    https://fiskerforum.com/north-sea-co...slash-advised/


    Poor recruitment is one of the factors behind the weak state of North Sea cod

    With North Sea cod believed to be in poor condition, advice from ICES is to reduce next year’s quota by 70%, with added quota reductions for other demersal species.

    ICES advice for North Sea cod, haddock, saithe, whiting and plaice has been made available, with cod seen as the species most in need of regeneration.

    A year ago ICES advised a 50% reduction in the cod quota, although the figure decided on represented a smaller decrease. A 10,457 tonne quota has been advised for next year, with poor recruitment seen as the primary cause of the cod stock’s weakness.

    According to the Norwegian Marine Research Institute, the initial indicator is that high sea temperatures during the spawning period is a key reason for this low recruitment.

    The saithe stock is above critical levels, but ICES still advises a 15% reduction to 88,093 tonnes, while the haddock stock in a healthy condition – but with higher than expected mortality rates, an 11% cut to 30,228 tonnes is advised. The whiting stock is in a similar condition and a 13% reduction to 22,082 tonnes is advised.

    A plaice quota of 131,439 tonnes has been advised, 8% down on last year’s advice.

    ‘Disappointment is almost inadequate as a term to describe the news that once again the iconic North Sea cod stock is in trouble. After a decade and a half in which the stock has been slowly but steadily increasing, the biomass is again in steep decline,’ commented a spokesman for the UK NFFO.

    ‘As usual, there is a mix of environmental and fisheries effects at work. ICES points to low recruitment but also suggests that unidentified changes in fishing patterns are implicated. The suspicion must be that the destabilising effect of the EU landing obligation is one of the factors at work. North Sea cod was brought under the landing obligation in 2018. Climate change and some kind of environmental regime shift is identified as a possible factor behind poor recruitment.’

    Disappointment

    The NFFO points out that cod in the North Sea is not a targeted species but is caught as a valuable by-catch along with other species in a mixed demersal fishery – which makes managing a reduction in fishing pressure on cod a difficult and challenging prospect, particularly in the context of the landing obligation and the potential for cod to choke other demersal fisheries.

    ‘As vessels are no longer permitted to discard, chokes occur when the exhaustion of quota for one species precludes the vessel, group, or member state, from catching the quotas of its main economic species. The concern now is that cod quota will be out of alignment with the TACs for haddock, whiting, saithe, and plaice, increasing the risk of chokes dramatically in 2020. Because of its body size and shape, cod is not an easy species to separate out without losing other valuable species in the catch. So more selective fishing gear is hard to achieve for both technical and economic reasons.’

    The point is also made that in the past, drastic management measures have generated pressures leading to fleet displacements into adjacent areas, or into changing target species, or gear types. All such displacement effects have potential knock-on effects.

    ‘In navigating their way through to a solution, fisheries managers and the fishing industry will have to take account of adverse scientific advice, the consequences of the EU landing obligation, cod as a by-catch in several fisheries, self-inflicted legal constraints – such as the EU MSY timetable and constraints on the use of fishing mortality ranges to set TACS – the economic viability of fishing businesses and communities, and the volatile political and jurisdictional context,’ the NFFO’s spokesman commented.

    ‘Above all, experience suggests that fisheries managers working with the fishing industry, will have to try to understand and anticipate the impact of proposed solutions in the real world.’

  2. #472
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    SFF calls for governments to appoint fisheries ministers

    https://fiskerforum.com/sff-calls-fo...ies-ministers/


    Scottish and UK governments need dedicated fisheries minister, say Scottish industry leaders

    Scottish fishermen’s leaders have called for both the UK and Scottish governments to appoint dedicated fisheries ministers to their cabinets.

    ‘In these uncertain times, it is vitally important that the interests of Scottish fishing communities receive full and focused attention,’ said SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong as Prime Minister Theresa May visited Scotland and the two candidates for Conservative Party leader prepared for their hustings.

    ‘As we move to the next phase on Brexit, we are urging both governments to appoint individuals with knowledge and experience of the industry to dedicated cabinet-level ministerial posts.’

    He commented that a fisheries agreement will need to be reached.

    ‘Trade talks will obviously be highly important in shaping the future of the sector. Ministers in Whitehall and Edinburgh who can give all their time to these vital discussions will be of enormous benefit in helping to secure the best post-Brexit arrangements possible,’ Bertie Armstrong said.

  3. #473
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    EU fisheries management running into difficulties

    https://fiskerforum.com/eu-fisheries...-difficulties/


    North Sea and Baltic cod are again in sharp decline

    The European Commission has launched its annual consultation on the state of fish stocks and the preparation for setting fish quotas for next year marked by the objective to fish all stocks at MSY levels by 2020 – and the good news is that most of the stocks in the North-East Atlantic have already reached this target.

    European fishing industry body Europêche has expressed once again its concern that the stated aim to have all stocks at biomass levels at MSY will prove to be counterproductive, since the production capacity of sea areas is simply not sufficient to achieve this objective.

    Europêche points out that despite fishing effort reductions, some fish populations are struggling to rebuild or even to remain at current level. The answer may be found in the latest scientific advices which revealed major challenges in some fisheries caused by the destabilising effect of the full introduction of the landing obligation and environmental factors such as climate change.

    Europêche stresses that enormously rapid achievements have been realised in NE Atlantic waters. In 2019, 59 out of 76 TACs have been set according to MSY levels compared to only five in 2009. In addition, the size of the region’s fish stocks has increased by more than 36% on average over the last 10 years.
    According to Europêche, this huge improvement has only been made possible by a heavy reduction in fishing effort by shrinking the EU fleet by more than 22,000 fishing vessels.

    ‘Still, it must be acknowledged, effort reductions do not always translate into larger quotas,’ Europêche managing director Daniel Voces said, citing as a clear example cod stocks in the southern part of the North Sea and the Eastern Baltic where, despite continuous effort reductions and after years of slow but steady recovery, the stock biomass is again in sharp decline.


    Gains that have already been achieved have been at the expense of a drastic reduction in fishing effort

    Poor recruitment

    ‘Scientists point to a mix of environmental and fisheries factors such as poor recruitment of young cod, climate change, and alterations in fishing patterns due to the destabilising effect of the EU landing obligation,’ he said.

    ‘Scientific data prove that the introduction of the EU landing obligation has been and still is more complex than politicians have foreseen and has led to unintended, harmful consequences in fisheries management, undoing the achievements and sacrifices made over the past years by fishermen. It confirms that from the perspective of fisheries management there was no need to introduce the landing obligation in the EU. The landing obligation is changing fishing patterns with potentially (and mostly still unknown) destabilising knock-on effects. The advised steep TAC reduction for cod will certainly lead to choke situations in many fisheries, preventing fishermen to fully utilise their quota with significant economic losses as a consequence.’

    MSY – at what cost?

    Europêche notes that even though the number of stocks fished at MSY levels has increased over time, statistical data indicates that the total production of seafood in the EU has not changed over the last 15 years.

    ‘The CFP dictates the need to achieve MSY levels for all fish stocks by 2020, but at what cost? Science clearly indicates that having all stocks at MSY levels is an unrealistic expectation that could only be achieved through significantly reduced yields. The EU cannot afford to offer less supply of fish to its home market resulting in an ever increasing self-sufficiency gap for seafood. Already more than 60% of EU seafood consumption is imported from non-EU countries. Fish must be a healthy protein accessible to all EU consumers, not a luxury item,’ he said and commented that the sector has always advocated to fish the main target stocks at MSY levels while monitoring the positive evolution of the by-catch stocks.

    ‘This approach has led to the recovery and responsible fishing of many important fish stocks in the EU. The challenge still remains on how to deal with fisheries management for different ecosystem compositions. Trying to strike the right balance between harvesting predators such as cod and prey such as herring has proven to be difficult and complex.’

  4. #474
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    EU Commission adopts 2020 proposals for Baltic

    https://fiskerforum.com/eu-commissio...ls-for-baltic/


    The EU Commission has adopted proposals for 2020 Baltic fisheries

    The European Commission has adopted a proposal for fishing opportunities for 2020 for the commercially most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea.

    Basing its decisions on scientific advice, it proposes to increase fishing opportunities for herring in the Gulf of Riga and maintain the same levels for salmon in the Gulf of Finland. For remaining stocks covered by the proposal, the Commission proposes to decrease fishing opportunities.


    Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

    ‘Despite efforts by our fishermen and authorities, the situation of fish stocks in the Baltic is serious, particularly for eastern Baltic cod and western herring. In line with scientific advice we propose a prudent package to ensure that sustainable fisheries can continue in the Baltic Sea over time,’ said Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

    The proposed total allowable catches (TAC) are based on ICES advice and follow the Baltic multiannual management plan adopted in 2016 by the European Parliament and the Council.

    According to the Commission, efforts by fishermen, industry and public authorities had, in recent years, succeeded in rebuilding important stocks in the Baltic Sea.

    It states that where complete scientific advice is available, decisions on the Baltic fishing opportunities had succeeded in setting fishing opportunities for 7 out of 8 stocks in line with the principle of maximum sustainable yield (MSY), covering 95% of fish landings in volume.

    It subsequently emerged that the situation was less stable than had previously been believed.

    ‘Decisive action is therefore necessary to rebuild all stocks and to ensure that they grow to or remain at sustainable levels, in line with MSY,’ the Commission states.

    ‘The Council will now examine the Commission proposal, in view of adopting it during a Ministerial meeting on 14-15th October.


    Fishing opportunities for Gulf of Riga herring are increased – while other Baltic herring quotas are reduced

    The eastern cod stock size has been found to have decreased substantially and has been below safe biological limits for some time already. In July, the Commission adopted emergency measures for the remainder of 2019, prohibiting the fishing of cod in the areas where eastern Baltic cod is most present.

    For 2020, the Commission proposes to allow by-catches only. In addition, it proposes to extend the existing spawning closure period in time and scope, and to prohibit recreational fishing in those areas where eastern Baltic cod is most present.

    Western Baltic cod is judged to have been at very low levels for several years, although last year indications showed an increasing stock size.

    Based on this, the total allowable catches for 2019 were 70% higher. Unfortunately, the most recent scientific observations indicate that the stock size did not increase as much as previously estimated. The proposal is therefore to reduce the total allowable catches by 68%, to re-introduce a spawning closure period and to reduce the limit for recreational fishermen to two fish per day.

    In addition, the Commission proposes to restrict TAC usage in deeper waters to by-catches and to prohibit recreational fishing for cod. These measures are seen as necessary because of the mixed presence of both western and eastern Baltic cod in a specific area and the exceptionally bad condition of the eastern stock.

    While the plaice stock in the eastern Baltic continues to grow, the biomass of the larger stock in the west was revised substantially downwards, and the proposal is for a 32% reduction.

    The stock size of western Baltic herring remains below safe biological limits and the Commission proposes to reduce the total allowable catches by 71% which, according to scientific advice, is estimated to bring the stock size back above safe biological limits in 2022.

    For central Baltic herring, the Commission is proposing a reduction of 10%, since the stock relies on only one year of good reproduction, and a reduction of 27% for the Gulf of Bothnia in line with ICES advice, while the situation for Riga herring allows for an increase of 11%.The sprat biomass was revised down and the stock relies on only one year of good reproduction. In line with scientific advice, the Commission is proposing a 25% reduction.

  5. #475
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    Skippers urge ‘common-sense’ approach to cod quotas

    https://www.shetnews.co.uk/2019/09/1...to-cod-quotas/

  6. #476
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    Shetland skippers slam endangered cod claim

    https://fiskerforum.com/shetland-ski...red-cod-claim/


    Shetland skippers are urging Scottish and UK governments to take a common-sense approach to North Sea cod quotas

    Shetland’s fishermen are warning Scottish and UK government ministers against an ideological approach to setting next year’s catch quotas for species – such as cod.

    Reacting to ICES advice that includes options for severe cuts in quotas for North Sea cod and other whitefish species, the Shetland Fishermen’s Association says that the state of fish stocks warrants calm management rather than ‘blinkered dogmatism.’

    In a detailed briefing paper, the SFA dispels a series of myths about North Sea cod and describes as ‘risible’ the notion that it is endangered.

    ‘The main point we are making is that cod is by no means in steep decline,’ said SFA executive officer Simon Collins.

    ‘There were more than 180 million cod in the North Sea in 2018 – that’s three times the human population of the UK and three times more than the most common land animal, the field vole. So to describe cod as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ or at risk of ‘extinction’, as many have, is risible.’

    He added from a fisheries management point of view, that the baseline or reference point on which decisions about how much can or should be caught, is utterly meaningless.


    Shetland Fishermen’s Association describes as ‘risible’ the notion that cod is an endangered species

    ‘There was a huge upsurge in the cod stock in the 1960s and 1970s, for not wholly understood reasons, but this has never recurred. And decisions are being made about TACs in the misguided belief that we can get back to that size of a stock,’ he said.

    ‘We can’t control nature to turn the clock back, especially when other factors have altered, such as the concentration of the stock now in the northern North Sea rather than throughout the North Sea.’

    The SFA paper points out that all fish stocks very in abundance over time, and the overall abundance of six principal whitefish species in the North Sea – the others being haddock, plaice, saithe, sole and whiting – has more than doubled in the last 20 years.

    ‘The reality of the situation is that scientists are saying that North Sea cod is twice as abundant as it was a dozen years ago. Their advice to cut quotas has nothing to do with conservation and everything to do with a wholly unrealistic political objective,’ Simon Collins said.

    ‘We are sick and tired of ideology getting in the way of sustainable fisheries management. As always, there is serious discussion to be had over catch quotas. But they have to be based on reality, not political targets plucked from thin air.’

  7. #477
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    Healthy mackerel stock

    https://fiskerforum.com/healthy-mackerel-stock/


    ICES recommends a 20% increase in the mackerel TAC compared to its advice issued in May this year

    The publication on the 1st October of the ICES scientific advice for the 2020 North East Atlantic mackerel confirms that the stock is in good shape – making mackerel an excellent sustainable choice for consumers, according to the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA).

    ‘This advice confirms that the mackerel stock is in good shape and it is particularly pleasing to see healthy recruitment levels. This means that consumers can continue to purchase mackerel safe in the knowledge that the stock is healthy and being sustainably fished,’ said MINSA co-ordinator Ian Gatt.

    The assessment by ICES puts the spawning stock biomass at a very high level of 4.40 million tonnes. This is more than 2.40 million tonnes above the limit reference point.

    The advice also shows that the 2016-2018 recruitment is also at its highest level since records began.
    ICES recommends a total allowable catch of 922,064 tonnes in 2020, which is a 20% increase on the last catch advice issued in May 2019.

    ‘Hopefully, this scientific assessment will result in a re-scoring of the fishery against the Marine Stewardship Council standard which could ultimately result in the current certificate suspension being lifted. To aid this process, we call on all coastal states involved in the fishery to work towards a comprehensive mackerel agreement,’ Ian Gatt said.

    ‘All members of MINSA are committed to a sustainable future for the fishery and are involved in a range of scientific measures relating to data collection to help improve our knowledge of the mackerel stock.’

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