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Brussels puts forward Atlantic and North Sea 2021 fish quotas

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Brussels puts forward Atlantic and North Sea 2021 fish quotas

Fishing boat

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission laid out its proposal for catch limits for fish stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea Tuesday, the basis for EU fisheries ministers to set final catch limits at a 15-16 December Council.

For 2021, the EU executive presents a proposal with 23 Total Allowable Catches (TACs). Following scientific advice, the Commission is proposing for 13 stocks to decrease the fishing quota, while increasing it for horse mackerel in the Iberian waters and sole in Kattegat by 5% and 12% respectively.

The fishing opportunities, or Total Allowable Catches (TACs), are quotas set for most of Europe's commercial fish stocks in order to keep them in a healthy status or help them return to it, while guaranteeing the wellbeing of fishermen and women. Under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the EU Member States are legally bound to manage fish stocks at sustainable levels.

Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius said the Commission was following the advice of scientists, and was committed to preserving biodiversity at sea, "which is the basis for our coastal communities to thrive".

He said: "Scientists are telling us to set lower catch limits for many of our stocks, and we are following this advice. Setting responsible catch limits will keep our ecosystems healthy and our fishing sector profitable, even in the face of short-term cuts."

Four TACs are delegated to a Member State, and four do not follow the calendar year (e.g. anchovy, sprat) and are already set until June 2021 or await scientific advice next year.

The Commission also proposes to continue existing safeguard measures to ensure that the amount of cod in Kattegat recovers to safe levels. Following the advice received by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) that no targeted fishery should take place for this stock, the Commission will set a fishing quota for by-catches only. Fishers in the area must use selective gears that reduce or avoid cod by-catches, or electronic monitoring to prevent illegal discards.

The Commission's proposal also covers the TACs that will be decided in cooperation with non-EU countries, such as the United Kingdom and Norway, or through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs). International consultations for many of these stocks are still ongoing, as are the negotiations of the future EU-UK partnership, including on fisheries, and therefore the respective TACs are put as pro memoria awaiting the outcome of negotiations.

TACs and quotas

Landing obligation

Multiannual management plans

Map of fishing areas

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