New move to protect deep-sea stocks –

New move to protect deep-sea stocks Published:  28 September, 2006

MORE protection is on the cards for deep-sea stocks.

The European Commission has adopted a proposal on total allowable catches (TACs) for deep-sea fish stocks such as sharks, black scabbardfish, tusk and forkbeards for 2007-2008. These species, which grow slowly and reproduce late, are particularly vulnerable to over-fishing. According to scientists, these stocks are being fished unsustainably. Due to the high risk of collapse of the deep sea ecosystems, the Commission proposes significant reductions in TACs for the most threatened stocks. Given that, in most cases, the real catches of the stocks concerned have been much lower than the fishing possibilities, the Commission has applied the scientific advice to real catches rather than to the current TACs. In line with its commitment to gradual reduction in fishing possibilities, the Commission proposes annual reductions of 33% in 2007 and a further 33% in 2008 for stocks for which the scientific advice is to immediately close the fisheries.