Baltic fish quotas agreed –

Baltic fish quotas agreed Published:  28 October, 2010

NEW catch rates for cod, salmon and herring in the Baltic sea have been agreed.

The Baltic states will receive smaller herring and salmon quotas, but it will get more cod. The states are reported to have held firm during European negotiations this week. Some Swedish fishermen will be happy because it seems that after years of cutting cod catches to preserve the population, cod quotas will now increase in the Eastern Baltic, although much of the cod in that region is caught by Polish fishermen.

Swedish Rural Affairs Minister Eskil Erlandsson seemed to have embarked on a collision course with other EU countries during negotiations on next year’s catch quotas in the Baltic Sea. But only Sweden sided with the European Commission and wanted to cut quotas for herring and sprats by up to 30 per cent and stick to previous. According to Swedish press reports, the agreement is not too far from what Sweden and the commission wanted. However, they were forced to reverse the cut in herring and sprat in certain parts of the Baltic Sea.

Eskil Erlandsson said: “To tell you the truth, I wish that we could have followed the commission’s proposal directly. However, I knew in advance that it would be impossible because we must always make compromises in order to even get a decision.”

Unlike previous years, the battle was not over cod. A special management plan has existed for several years governing cod fishing, which has resulted in more stable and predictable quotas.

Subsequently, cod has recovered well and EU countries have agreed to increase quotas by 15 per cent in the eastern Baltic Sea and by six per cent west of Denmark’s  Bornholm.

The commission will now receive a mandate to develop similar plans for herring, salmon and sprat, something that Sweden has pushed hard to achieve. In December, fishing negotiations will continue for the rest of the EU’s waters.