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EU Council sets fishing quotas for 2022

15 December 2021, 17:13 CET
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EU Council sets fishing quotas for 2022

Fishing - Photo Denmark - Thyboron, FEDER-02 - EC

(BRUSSELS) - European Union fisheries ministers reached agreement Tuesday on catch limits for over 200 commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic, the North Sea, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea for 2022.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council agreed that as consultations with the UK on shared fish stocks are ongoing, provisional catch limits will be applied to the species concerned for the first three months of 2022, pending final agreement. These have been set at 25% of last year's limits for most species, taking into account the specificities of seasonal fisheries.

"Today's agreement is the result of hard work and good will on all sides," said Slovenia's agriculture minister Joze Podgorsek, for the EU presidency: "It will allow us to maintain fish stocks at sustainable levels while also protecting the livelihoods of European fishing fleets."

For the Atlantic and North Sea, the following changes have been made to total allowable catches (TACs) that the EU manages autonomously:

  • the TAC for sole has been reduced by 36% in the northern and central Bay of Biscay sea areas, and rolled over in the West of Ireland and Porcupine Bank
  • the TACs for pollock in the Bay of Biscay and Portuguese waters have also been rolled over
  • the TAC for southern hake has been reduced by 8%
  • the ban on targeted cod fishing has been maintained, with the TAC for cod bycatches in Kattegat being reduced by 21% (special provisions apply to vessels participating in trials on remote electronic monitoring)
  • the TAC for Norway lobster in functional unit 31 has increased by 2000%

Other key features of the proposal include:

  • a rollover of measures for European eel, with a three-month closure, enabling consultations with member states and stakeholders to take place on the best way to manage this stock in response to worrying scientific advice
  • measures aimed at protecting the declining cod stock in the Celtic Sea while also enabling EU vessels to continue fishing for species whose numbers are on the rise, such as whiting

For the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the Council agreed to reduce fishing effort for demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean by 6%, in line with the EU's legal obligation to attain the maximum sustainable yield for this species by 2025. The reduction will apply to trawlers; for longliners, the maximum fishing effort will be based on the number of fishing days between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2017. Ministers also agreed to introduce maximum catch limits for stocks of blue and red shrimp and giant red shrimp.

In the Black Sea, the Council transposed the EU quota for turbot established under the revised multiannual management plan, and maintained the catch limits for sprat set the previous year.

Management of the EU's fish stocks

Proposal for a Council regulation fixing for 2022 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks applicable in Union waters and for Union fishing vessels in certain non-Union waters

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