Sweden: fishing fleet must be significantly reduced, says government agency report – Fishupdate.com

Sweden: fishing fleet must be significantly reduced, says government agency report Published:  06 April, 2006

THE Swedish fishing fleet is too big for the present fishing resource, according to a report by the Swedish Environmental Advisory Council, presented to the Swedish Government.

The situation is critical for several fish stocks, and there is an evident risk of stock failure with severe social, economic and ecological consequences, the report claims. The governmental agency suggests that several important fish stocks in Sweden are on the brink of break down.

“It is probable that we have already extinguished local cod stocks in the fjords of the west coast”, Kerstin Johannesson, professor in marine ecology and a member of the advisory council said. The council claim that despite warnings from scientific work, several stocks have been fished down to a level that today gives small catches for both commercial fishermen, tourist fishing, and recreational fishing, and the size of the Swedish fishing fleet is seen as one of the main problems, seen in relation to the present resources. The advisory council has suggested a vision for national fishery policy, with the ambition that all players will be able to agree on its content. In order to reach the vision, both acute measures and more long term strategic measures will be necessary.

The most acute measure would be to sharply reduce certain segments of the fishing fleet. For the pelagic fishery for among other things herring and sprat a time limited system with buy and sellable quotas could be trialled. The cod fishery could be limited by the state buying up parts of the fishing fleet and thereafter regulating the fishing effort for both professional and recreational fishing. For certain local fish stocks local co-management can be a solution.

For a long term strategic approach the advisory council suggests a more all-embracing planning of the Swedish water areas, where different forms of usage are regulated in the corresponding way as area activities are regulated on land. In the long term,it is said all players will benefit from implementing strong fishing limits, the advisory council claims, as this in the long term will give increased catches. In addition, the advisory council says that Sweden should take the initiative for a global commission that oversees the need for fishing free areas and give suggestions for a global zone dividing of international waters. They also suggest that the EU quota system should be phased out. The Baltic Sea or the North Sea could become pilot areas for this , the report says.

The Swedish Environmental Advisory Council advises the Government on environmental issues. The Council is composed of 22 members mainly from the scientific community, and is chaired by the Minister for the Environment, Lena Sommestad.

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