Poland cod quotas slashed

The ministers of European Union has gave their consent on reducing Poland’s annual allowances over four years for fishing cod in the eastern Baltic Sea as pay back for busting the quota last year. According to the officials the decision put an end to the hot debate between Warsaw and Brussels over whether Poland caught too much cod last year.

Regarding the issue Poland even filed a lawsuit against the European Commission, which administers quotas, at the EU’s highest court. The Commission said that the catch report submitted by Warsaw clearly shows that Poland exceeds its 2007 cod quota by 8,000 tonnes. According to the commission Poland’s fleet had too much capacity for the opportunities available to catch cod and made the situation worse with its poor control and enforcement of quotas.

EU’s 27 fisheries ministers agreed in a meeting in Luxembourg that Poland will be able to “pay back” the overshoot by annual quota reductions up to 2011. They have also decided that Poland must improve controls against quota-busting and also reduce its fleet overcapacity. It is told that Poland’s cod quota for 2008 has been reduced by 10 percent of the amount overfished, with further cuts of 30 percent of that amount in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

According to the European Union its fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea has been divided into western and eastern waters, with cod stocks in the eastern zone far more threatened due to excessive and illegal fishing. Scientists say cod numbers in the western Baltic Sea are slightly better but it is still over exploited with low yields.