Agreement reached on 2017 catch quotas for the North Sea

At the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers' meeting held in Brussels on 12 and 13 December, the European Fisheries Ministers agreed on the total allowable catches (TACs) and the catch quotas for 2017. This concerns in particular the fish stocks of the North Sea and the North East Atlantic.

The Council had already fixed the TACs and quotas for the Baltic Sea at its meeting in September 2016.

The catch levels for 2017 were determined on the basis of the scientific recommendations of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). It is particularly pleasing to see that the North Sea cod - that has for a long time been the symbolic fish for the over-exploitation of the seas - has recovered substantially and is now being fished sustainably. The biomass and the size of the year classes of saithe in the North Sea are increasing considerably and allow far more fishing than in previous years. The stocks of herring and plaice are still at a historically high level. The catch level for plaice therefore remains unchanged compared to the previous year's level, the catch level for herring will be slightly reduced (-7 percent).

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy has an impact

According to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), this indicates that the comprehensive reform of the Common Fisheries Policy has now made a difference: "In 2017, the catch levels of German and European fishermen will again increase for important fish stocks of the North Sea, in the case of cod by 17 percent, in the case of saithe even by 55 percent. The policy of sustainable management of our living marine resources established under the reform thus provides benefits after a few years only." In the view of the Minister, it is therefore important to have our sights firmly set on the joint goal of achieving sustainable management of all stocks by 2020 at the latest. "This policy is the best guarantee of positive future prospects for our fisheries sector. We will continue to pursue a sustainable fisheries policy. So the consumers can enjoy fish from the North Sea and the North East Atlantic without a bad conscience. The stocks are not jeopardised by the consumption", said the Minister.

More than half of the fish stocks in the North East Atlantic is already today managed sustainably. This share will presumably increase substantially in the next two years.

EU and German quotas 2017 for important North Sea stocks and mackerel

EU Quota

(Figures in tonnes)

German Quota

(Figures in tonnes)

Changes 2017/16

(Figures in %)

Herring 288.76551.066-7
Mackerel (North East Atlantic)407.51725.928+14

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Information on fishing possibilities in the Baltic Sea

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