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Commercial Fishing



EC welcomes new multi annual fisheries plan. The European Commission has welcomed the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on a multi-annual plan for fisheries in the Western waters. The agreement will help restore and maintain stocks at sustainable levels, while ensuring social and economic viability for the fishermen operating in the region.

Commissioner Karmenu Vella stated: “I am very pleased with today’s political agreement, as it signals the EU’s determination to protect the future of our fisheries in the Western Waters on the long term. We have already seen an increasing number of stocks being fished sustainably in this sea basin. This has translated into higher income for the fishing industry and the local communities. With this multi-annual plan, we continue towards our goal to reach sustainable fisheries for all stocks, with solutions that are adapted to the specific needs of the fishermen in the Western Waters.”

During yesterday’s trilogue, the EU co-legislators have reached an agreement on the Commission’s proposal from March 2018. The plan concerns the fleets of Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the UK in this part of the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent waters.

Many of the fish stocks in western waters are already being fished sustainably. For these stocks, the multi-annual plan will enable Member State Groups to recommend measures tailored to their particular fisheries. This will ensure both economic growth and continued sustainability. For other stocks, the plan will support recovery efforts to ensure that they are fished sustainably in the coming years.


The new multi-annual plan is the third one adopted in line with the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), after the Baltic Sea (2016) and the North Sea (2018). The Commission proposals for a multiannual plan for the Adriatic Sea and the Western Mediterranean are still being discussed by the co-legislators. Under the CFP, multi-annual plans should contribute to achieving fishing at sustainable levels. They may also contain measures to implement the landing obligation, technical measures, as well as safeguards for remedial action where needed.

The Western Waters plan covers fisheries for species from the North and West of Scotland over the Gulf of Cadiz down to Madeira in the South. According to the Annual Economic Report (AER) of 2016 more than 48 000 fishermen and 18 000 vessels are active in the Western waters, including both the demersal and the pelagic sector.


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