WESTERN BALTIC COD QUOTA SLASHED
Western Baltic cod quota slashed
The agreement comes at a difficult time for the Baltic Sea, as environmental pressures and challenges stemming from pollution are taking their toll on fish stocks, as well.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, welcomed the agreement: “Restoring the marine environment and the fish stocks in the Baltic Sea is at the heart of the Commission’s approach to setting fishing opportunities and I am happy that the Council has agreed to follow it for most of the stocks. In recent years, the problems in the Baltic have had a devastating impact on our fishers. This is why our comprehensive approach, with concrete actions targeting environment, is crucial. The decisions reached are difficult, but necessary, so that the Baltic Sea can remain the source of livelihood for fishermen and women today and tomorrow.”
The Council adopted fishing opportunities for several stocks with substantial reductions, such as -88% for western Baltic cod. It also agreed on additional recovery management measures, such as limiting fishing to unavoidable by-catches for main basin salmon and western herring, as well as extended spawning closure and a ban on recreational fisheries for western Baltic cod.
The agreement on the Joint Recommendation of Baltic Member States for a more selective fishing gear for flatfish is a step change in fisheries management, which allowed to increase the plaice total allowable catch (TAC) accordingly, without putting at risk the ailing cod stocks. The Council agreed increases for herring in the Gulf of Riga, sprat, and salmon in the Gulf of Finland.
Table: Overview of TAC changes 2021-2022 (figures in tonnes except for salmon, which is in number of pieces)
ICES fishing zone; subdivision
|Council agreement (in tonnes and % change from 2020 TAC)||Council agreement (in tonnes and % change from 2021 TAC)|
|Western Cod 22-24||4 000 (+5%)||489 (-88%)|
|Eastern Cod 25-32||595 (-70%)||595 (roll-over)|
|Western Herring 22-24||1 575 (-50%)||788 (-50%)|
|Bothnian Herring 30-31||117 485 (+81%)||111 345 (-5%)|
|Riga Herring 28.1||39 446 (+15%)||47 697 (+21%)|
|Central Herring 25-27, 28.2, 29, 32||97 551 (-36%)||49 751 (-45%)|
|Sprat 22-32||222 958 (+6%)||251 943 (+13%)|
|Plaice 22-32||7 240 (+5%)||9 050 (+25%)|
|Main Basin Salmon 22-31||94 496 (+9%)||63 811 (-32%)|
|Gulf of Finland Salmon 32||8 883 (-8%)||9 455 (+6%)|