A policy fit for the future, says Damanaki Published: 28 September, 2011
EUROPE’S Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, yesterday described new EU proposals on fish stocks in the North Sea and Atlantic as “a reform to deliver a fisheries policy fit for the future”.
She said they were the cornerstone for the long-term management of stocks based on reliable scientific data and in line with proposals to reform the Common Fisheries Policy. The Commission proposes to increase the total allowable catch (TAC) for nine stocks (including certain stocks of cod, anglerfish, herring, haddock, hake, sole, megrim and Norway lobster) and reduce it for 53 stocks. For cod in the West of Scotland, the Irish Sea and the Kattegat, the Commission proposes that no fishing takes place in 2012, given the poor state of these stocks. The proposed changes would amount to an overall reduction in TACs (by weight) of 11 per cent compared to 2011. The Commission’s goal is to set TACs at science-based levels which help recover the stocks and make fisheries sustainable in the long term. Ms Damanaki added: “This reform will deliver a fisheries policy fit for the future, based on viable fish stocks which will assure fishermen a decent income.”
The proposed catch limits are based on the scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). Stakeholders were also consulted on the basis of the Commission’s Consultation document from May.
The Commission’s ultimate aim is that all stocks are fished at sustainable levels, the so-called Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), by 2015 a commitment that the EU made to the international community, and which is also a key pillar of the proposed CFP reform.
To help achieve maximum sustainable yield by 2015, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has started to frame its scientific advice with this goal in mind, whenever possible. Also, multi-annual management plans are being put in place for all major commercial stocks. Stocks managed in this way tend to fare better than those subject to short-term decision-making.