EU Ministers agree on fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea for 2017
On 10 September 2016 the EU Fisheries Ministers Council agreed on new fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea for 2017. Federal Minister Christian Schmidt considered the result a "prudent compromise with which the Council lived up to its responsibility".
"Stocks will continue to recover and our Baltic Sea fishermen will have economic prospects”, the Minister declared. He went on to say that good stocks were needed to maintain the Baltic Sea fisheries' economic prospects.
The agreement was preceded by in-depth negotiations on the basis of a package of measures negotiated by the Baltic Sea countries under the German EU Council Presidency. In the case of the Baltic Sea cod - the most important commercial fish for many German fisheries undertakings - the package included both unavoidable drastic quota cuts and accompanying measures. This is the first time that the recently adopted multi-annual plan for the Baltic Sea set the framework for the unanimous agreement of the ministers and the European Commission.
Cod: Quota reduction accompanied by measures
Minister Schmidt emphasised: "Thanks to a package of measures including a painful, yet - in view of the population status - necessary quota cut, longer closed periods and a limitation of the daily catches in recreational fisheries, we have succeeded in achieving an acceptable result for cod, the most important fish for the German Baltic Sea fisheries. He said that these measures prevented even bigger quota cuts having to be made.
He went on to say that his goal was to preserve jobs and structures in professional and recreational fishing off the Baltic coast, and that this was reflected in the result.
To support the recovery of the codling stock, catch levels will be reduced by 56 per cent in the Western Baltic Sea and by 25 per cent in the Eastern Baltic Sea. Complementary measures were also agreed: For example, a maximum limit of three to five cod per day - depending on the season - has been set for the first time in respect of recreational fishing. The ministers also agreed to adjust the seasonal restrictions for the protection of spawning stocks in the Western Baltic Sea: Cod fishery will now be banned from 1 February to 31 March in 2017 in this area.
Minister Schmidt announces aid for the affected fishermen
In view of the significant cuts in catch levels for Western Baltic cod, the minister announced that support would be provided to the affected fishermen in order to bridge the difficult situation. To this end, it is planned to use funds from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, with co-financing from federal funds, to finance measures for the temporary or permanent cessation of business. Schmidt: "We will accompany the quota cuts with a strong package of measures, which we have not previously had in such situations. The fishermen will not be left in the lurch. They will receive strong support in Germany".
The situation is generally positive for the other stocks that are important for Germany: In the case of herring the catch level will be increased by eight per cent. There will be a 95 percent increase for plaice, and a quota increase of 29 per cent is planned for sprat.
The total allowable catches are decided solely by the Council, in accordance with the Treaty of Lisbon. There is no consultation with the European Parliament. The proposals for the fishing possibilities in 2017 are based on the scientific advisory opinions of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
The Council adopted the following total allowable catches and quotas:
|Baltic TACs and quotas relevant for Germany 2016|
|EU Total Allowable Catch 2016||German Quota 2016||German Quota 2015||Difference 2016/2015|
|in tons (t), salmon: numbers|
|Herring Western Baltic (Areas 22-24)||28.401||15.670||14.496||8 %|
|Herring Eastern Baltic (Areas 25-27)||191.129||1.115||1.035||8 %|
|Cod Western Baltic (Areas 22-24)||5.597||1.194||2.715||-56 %|
|Cod Eastern Baltic (Areas 25-32)||30.857||2.820||3.760||-25 %|
|Salmon Areas 22-31||95.928||2.212||2.212||0 %|
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