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MEPs end time-at-sea limits for North Sea fishing

22 November 2016, 19:03 CET
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MEPs end time-at-sea limits for North Sea fishing

fish and chips - Photo by Charles Haynes

(STRASBOURG) - North Sea cod fishermen will be able to land every catch – not just cod – more easily following MEPs' s green light Tuesday to remove limits on the number of days a vessel can spend in a fishing area.

The updated regulation amends a 2008 Regulation establishing a long-term-plan for cod stocks in the Kattegat, the North Sea, the Skagerrak and the eastern Channel, the west of Scotland and the Irish Sea, and fisheries exploiting those stocks.

The revised legislation is fully compatible with the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), as it removes all obstacles to complying with the landing obligation in full.

MEPs removed the rule for calculating fishing effort – i.e. power of each vessel in kW plus the number of days it is present within a given area - as this led fishermen to discard unwanted catches by hampering further adaptation of fishing patterns, such as the choice of area and gear.

Under the new rule, fishermen will face no obstacles to landing all their catches as they will no longer be subject to time limits. The landing obligation and the discard ban are key elements of the new CFP.

As regards the sustainability of cod stocks, the long-term cod plan aims to "maintain the cod stocks above levels which can produce maximum sustainable yield" (MSY).

The scientific evaluation of the performance of Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 carried out by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) has shown a number of problems with the application of that Regulation. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has suggested a re-evaluation of the management strategy, in particular following a changed perception of the North Sea stock.

 

Under the new rule, fishermen will face no obstacles to landing all their catches as they will no longer be subject to time limits. The landing obligation and the discard ban are key elements of the new CFP.

New multi-annual plans for multi-species fisheries in various Atlantic regions, based on Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, are currently being prepared. Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 will eventually be superseded, for each relevant area, by those new multi-annual plans for multi-species fisheries. Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 will therefore continue to apply for only a short period of time. However, a number of urgent amendments should nevertheless be made to Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 to cover the period until the new multi-annual plans for multi-species fisheries starts to apply.

Under the new rule, fishermen will face no obstacles to landing all their catches as they will no longer be subject to time limits. The landing obligation and the discard ban are key elements of the new CFP.

Following Parliament's green light, the new regulation now enters into force on the fourth day following its publication in the EU Official Journal of the EU, and will apply from 1 January 2017.

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text (2012/0236 (COD) will soon be available here (22.11.2016)

The discard ban and its impact on the maximum sustainable yield objective on fisheries - study commissioned by the Fisheries Committee (2016)


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