The European Commission has proposed total allowable catches (TAC), based on scientific advice, for 2021 and 2022 to allow limited fisheries for three deep-sea stocks.
These stocks are fished exclusively in EU waters by EU member states. They are roundnose grenadier, red seabream in Iberian waters and black scabbardfish in the Bay of Biscay, Iberian waters and the Azores. The proposal includes a general prohibition on fishing deep-sea sharks, a further restriction compared to previous years where limited by-catches were allowed under specific conditions.
‘Today’s proposal continues our long-running efforts for the prudent exploitation of deep-sea species in the EU waters,’ said Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.
‘Now is the time to put our commitment to healthy fish stocks in deep-sea waters firmly into practice. These stocks are a key component of our marine ecosystems and we must continue and further intensify our efforts to protect them.’
In line with the scientific advice, decreases in fishing opportunities are planned for all of these stocks, down 20% for red seabream in Iberian waters, down 25% for black scabbard in the Bay of Biscay, and down 90% for roundnose grenadier in Skagerrak and Kattegat.
The remaining six TACs are listed as PM, i.e. pro memoria, pending consultations with the United Kingdom.
The Commission proposes to continue to delegate the management of black scabbard in the CECAF area to Portugal, the sole quota-holder. Portugal, therefore, needs to ensure that the stock is managed in line with the principles and rules of the Common Fisheries Policy, in particular the principle of sustainable exploitation of the stock.
The European Union has regulated fishing for deep-sea species since 2003.