Today, after long hours of discussion in Luxembourg, EU Fisheries Ministers reached an agreement on the catch limits for 2022 for the ten main commercial stocks in the Baltic Sea. Despite the huge quota cuts in the last years for key species such as cod and herring in certain areas, the poor environmental status of the Baltic Sea, and not overfishing, is affecting the sustainability of these stocks. Nevertheless, Ministers have decided to further reduce fishing opportunities for Western and Central herring as well as for Western cod. On the positive side, the Council has agreed to increase fishing opportunities for plaice, sprat, Bothnian herring and Gulf of Finland salmon. Despite these increases, the reality is that 2022 will still remain an extremely challenging year for the Baltic fishers.
A two-day long intensive negotiation finished this very morning with the difficult political compromise reached by EU Fisheries ministers on the catch limits for 2020. This agreement reconciles to objective to secure healthy stocks with the need to ensure the socio-economic sustainability of the EU fleet. 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. The industry will however 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 Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament has voted yesterday on the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) that will cover the budgetary period 2021-2027. Europêche appreciates the strong stand of the Parliament against the 5% budgetary cut proposed by the European Commission to compensate for the upcoming Brexit gap in the EU budget. The Parliament has called instead for a 10% budget increase (total envelope of €7.74 billion in current prices) compared to the Commission’s proposal to face the many upcoming challenges for the sector. Furthermore, Europêche welcomes the efforts made by the Committee to deliver their position on the new fund before the end of the current legislative term to avoid any delays as well as their focus on the socio-economic sustainability of the fishing fleet.