The European Commission has adopted its first ever proposal on fishing opportunities covering both the Mediterranean and the Black Seas.
In the Mediterranean Sea, the proposal implements the multiannual management plan for demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean, adopted in June this year. To that end, a reduction of fishing effort is necessary in 2020 for red mullet, hake, deep-water rose shrimp, langoustine, blue and red shrimp and giant red shrimp.
The proposal also includes additional measures, in line with the decisions of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). In particular, it introduces a three-month closure period for eel, catch and fishing effort limits for small pelagics in the Adriatic and a fishing effort limit for demersal species in the Adriatic.
In the Black Sea, the Commission proposes catch limits and quota for turbot and sprat. For turbot, the proposal will transpose the EU quota to be decided in the context of the revision of the GFCM turbot multiannual management plan. For sprat, the Commission proposes to maintain the same catch limit as in 2019 at 11,475 tonnes.
The Commission states that these proposals deliver on the political commitments made in the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declarations to promote sustainable management, reflecting its efforts and ambition to ensure social and economic viability for the fishermen operating in the region by restoring and maintaining stocks at sustainable levels.
‘Throughout my term in office, I have been working to reverse the alarming situation for most fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, as part of the EU’s wider commitment to sustainable fisheries,’ said Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
‘It is a long process but today’s proposal is another important step in the right direction.’
The Commission proposal will be updated after the GFCM annual session (4-8th November 2019) with the figures of those stocks subject to negotiations within that organisation.
At the December Agriculture and Fisheries Council (16-17th December), Member States will set the fishing opportunities for 2020 on the basis of the Commission proposal.