EU agrees deep-sea fish quotas for 2017-18
(BRUSSELS) - The EU Council agreed Monday on total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas for deep-sea stocks in the EU and international waters in the North-East Atlantic for 2017 and 2018.
Deep-sea stocks are fish stocks caught in waters beyond the main fishing grounds of continental shelves. They account for about 1% of all fish caught in the North-East Atlantic. The fish stocks concerned are: deep sea sharks, black scabbardfish, roundnose grenadier and roughhead grenadier, alfonsino, red seabream and greater forkbeard.
In view of the vulnerability of deep-sea species and in order to prevent their over-exploitation, the Council decided to reduce the TACs for the vast majority of stocks.
For the EU presidency, Slovak minister Gabriela Matecna welcomed the EU's progress towards "sustainable management of deep-sea stocks". "Over the next two years some catches will have to be reduced to make sure that stocks are able to replenish and be exploited in a sustainable manner in the longer term. This is an essential investment in the health of our seas and the future of our fishermen," she said.
The regulation will apply from 1 January 2017.
Fishing for deep-sea species has been regulated by the EU since 2003 through total allowable catches (TACs) per species and area, and maximum fishing effort deployable in the North-East Atlantic. The fishing opportunities for deep-sea species are decided every two years on the basis of scientific advice, in line with regulation 1380/2013 on the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Scientific advice is provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which published its latest review of the biological status of deep-sea stocks in June 2016.
Elements of the proposal are also based on the further review undertaken by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) in July 2016.
Under the reformed CFP, fishing opportunities should also be fixed in accordance with the precautionary principle and aim at restoring and maintaining maximum sustainable yield (MSY).