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  1. #491
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  2. #492
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    Council aims for sustainable catch limits for 2020

    https://fiskerforum.com/council-aims...mits-for-2020/


    The December Council outcomes represent a compromise, protecting stocks and taking socio-economic factors into account – but 2020 will still be a tough year for many fishing communities

    Two days of intensive negotiation has resulted in an agreement that reconciles the objective of securing healthy stocks with the need to ensure the socio-economic sustainability of the EU fleet, according to European fishing industry body EuropÍche.

    ‘The latter was acknowledged by the Council which, after a predominantly conservationist proposal from the European Commission, adopted a better-balanced decision in light of the socio-economic data provided by Member States,’ said EuropÍche managing director Daniel Voces, adding that the industry will face many challenges for next year due to the extreme quota reductions and restrictive measures adopted for key species such as cod in all EU waters.

    ‘The result achieved is a step forward in the right direction to continue the EU lead in sustainably managing fish stocks. Generally speaking, the political agreement will provide the necessary measures to protect fish stocks and at the same time allow vessels to continue fishing in a sustainable manner. Having said that, the survival of many fishing fleets will be put to a test in light of the huge quota reductions, particularly in the Celtic and North Sea, to comply with the ambitious objectives set in the CFP,’ he said.


    A proposed 20% quota cut for southern hake was softened to a 5% reduction

    ‘During the last decade many efforts have been made by the EU fishing fleets to rebuild fish stocks to the point that, next year 99.4% of the landings in the EU from the North-East Atlantic will come from healthy stocks. Difficult decisions have been made to achieve these levels. The industry supports quota reductions, when and where needed, that are consistent with maintaining the fabric of the fishing industry and coastal communities, but not just to sustain a rigid interpretation of fisheries rules.’

    EuropÍche has welcomed that the quota cut proposed for southern hake was reduced from -20% to -5%, in line with the multiannual plan. Concerning northern hake, despite last year’s increase, the Council endorsed the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) reductions of around 20% for all other hake stocks in the rest of Community waters.

    These stocks show healthy biomass levels, so a limited reduction in fishing pressure is expected to be sufficient to keep the stocks in good shape, according to scientists.
    The reduction in North Sea saithe by 15% in spite of the good results yielded last year is seen as regrettable, while the Council adopted a roll-over for whiting in the North Sea as well as steep quota reductions in other relevant areas such as the Celtic Sea by 43%.

    Common sole stocks generally see increased catch limits thanks to the good state of the stock and the flatfish situation in the North Sea is extremely favourable with the stocks for both main species, sole and plaice, well within the MSY limits. Therefore, TAC’s could be raised by 40% and 17% respectively, which EuropÍche says is especially an encouraging sign for the fisheries dependent communities.

    Last year the Council decided to reduce the TAC for haddock in the North Sea by 30%, and subsequent positive results for this species has resulted this year in a 23% increase. For Celtic waters the Council decided to endorse the Commission’s proposal to increase the haddock TAC by only 30% despite the 100% advised by ICES.


    The quota for North Sea saithe is down by 15%, in spite last year’s good results

    Much of the focus has been on cod – one of the main and most difficult decisions that had to be taken. The Council mitigated some of the cuts proposed by the Commission (as much as -88%), nevertheless according to EuropÍche the fishing fleets targeting these stocks are faced with a drastic situation. In Celtic and Iberian waters last year’s hefty cut of 48% is furthermore reduced to another 50%.

    ‘This will come as yet another nail in the coffin for many fishermen,’ Daniel Voces said.
    Due to the difficult situation of cod and whiting stocks, the Council decided to introduce, apart from the previous safeguard measures, remedial measures such as higher mesh sizes to increase selectivity and reduce by-catch.

    EuropÍche reminded the Council that concrete, rational and responsible measures for the protection of these stocks were proposed by the sector within the regional context under the recently adopted western waters management plan. EuropÍche argues that these were ignored and the Council has taken the strange step of adopting new technical measures through an EU law, disregarding the efforts made at regional level and returning to unwanted micromanagement that goes against the spirit of the Common Fisheries Policy.

    ‘In particular, the imposition of a new type of trawl from 1st June 2020, will not allow fishermen to face the problems without causing heavy losses for the many vessels concerned,’ he said.

    Megrim stocks continue to show steady growth rates in all areas, particularly in the south which sees a TAC increase of 24%. The sharp quota cut in horse mackerel of up to 41% in northern areas contrasts with the good results in the south. Despite the Commission’s plans to reduce catch limits by 50% in Iberian waters, the quota was increased by 24% in line with the ICES advice.

    The agreement reached with Norway on jointly-managed stocks in the North-East Atlantic either followed the ICES advice or rolled over the same arrangements as last year. Following the scientific revision of the mackerel stock a TAC increase of 41% has been adopted.

    ‘2019 was just the first year that the landing obligation was applicable to all EU fisheries, and in light of the difficulties faced by EU fishermen, the Council decided to extend an extra year the pool mechanism for quota exchanges between Member States,’ Daniel Voces reports.

    ‘This measure is welcomed by the sector, as fishing vessels with low or no quota for certain species would have to cease fishing operations even if they still have quota for other species in the same area. ’

    ‘For the first time ever fishing opportunities were decided for the Western Mediterranean Sea. It was agreed that the fishing effort for demersal species will be reduced by 10% as laid down in the management plan to continue rebuilding fish stocks,’ he said.

  3. #493
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    The following "story" from the Guardian should be treated with the contempt it deserves

    https://www.theguardian.com/environm...-2020-deadline

  4. #494
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    Fishermen’s organisations slam North Sea cod decision

    https://fiskerforum.com/fishermens-o...-cod-decision/


    European fishermen’s organisations have banded together to question the hugely disappointing outcome on North Sea cod

    European fishermen’s organisations have banded together to brand the decision to drastically reduce the 2020 North Sea cod TAC as a truly disappointing outcome, predicting this to be disastrous for many small fishing industries in remote areas.

    ‘It’s a slap in the face of the fishermen, who pay the price for other people’s lack of concern or willingness to listen to those affected by the decisions’ the consortium’s spokesman commented, stating that in an attempt to react responsibly to the scientific advice on North Sea cod from ICES when it was published in June, the European fisheries organisations with a direct interest in the stock decided to work together in an attempt to propose a way to improve the situation.

    ‘This entailed a significant amount of work spread across a number of meetings. Despite having many common interests, the fishing fleets have different structures and traditions, and regulations vary between Norway and EU. Even within the EU, there are differences in the way that common regulations are implemented and huge differences in fishing patterns.’

    The industry managed to reach agreement on measures that would bring the cod stock closer to the politically agreed target of MSY, would increase the stock size and reduce the fishing pressure to the lowest level ever experienced. It would also enable the fishermen to fully exploit other key commercial stocks that thrive in the North Sea and perhaps enable more fishermen to survive.

    Every country contributed with proposals that would mean a reduction in their own activities.
    ‘This was seen as a price that had to be paid in order to contribute to the recovery of the cod stock. Alas – the European Commission and Member States decided to take a simplistic view of a complex situation, they took what was offered and gave nothing back,’ the group states.

    ‘With the combination of an extremely low TAC, a discard ban, and stock that is approximately twice the size of its all time low, the result of the Council meeting is ‘the Chronicle of a death foretold.’ It is not possible for fishing fleets to catch the quotas of abundant other stocks and the green lobby have effectively succeeded in depriving society of thousands of tonnes of protein harvested with very low carbon footprint.’

    The fishermen’s groups demand an answer to the question of whether it is really so important to meet the target in a single year, rather than being approached in progressive steps over a few more years, that the European fishing industries must be strangled in the process?

    Who has an interest in this? Who pays for it? Why?

    ‘North Sea fisheries have a long history and tradition and play an important role for many coastal communities. Overfishing has indeed taken place in some periods and areas, but this is no longer the case for the vast majority of activities – and certainly not for the fishery in the North Sea, which is amongst the most heavily regulated fisheries in the world,’ the group’s spokesman said.

    ‘The fishing industry is deeply engaged in ensuring that the fishing activities are performed in a sustainable way. Fishermen more than anybody have an interest in stable stocks producing high yields and have millions of Euros invested in it. They also have the best knowledge of the operations at sea. Why are they then totally ignored when it comes to ways to improve the situation?’ asked the spokesman for the group, representing the Shetland Fishermen’s Association, The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, the Scottish fishermen’s Federation, the Scottish White Fish Producer’s Association Limited and the Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation in the UK, the Danish Fishermen’s Producer Organisation, Dutch associations VisNed and Nederlanse Vissersbond,, FROM NORD, Organisation de Producteurs Š la pÍche in France, Norges Fiskarlag in Norway, Erzeugergemeischaft der Nord- und Ostseefischer GmbH in Germany and Rederscentrale in Belgium.

  5. #495
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