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TACs and quotas - EU fishing rules

27 October 2016, 20:06 CET
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Total allowable catches (TACs) or fishing opportunities, are catch limits (expressed in tonnes or numbers) that are set for most commercial fish stocks. The Commission prepares the proposals, based on scientific advice on the stock status from advisory bodies such as ICES and STECF. Some multi-annual plans contain rules for the setting of the TACs. TACs are set annually for most stocks (every two years for deep-sea stocks) by the Council of fisheries ministers. For stocks that are shared and jointly managed with non-EU countries, the TACs are agreed with those (groups of) non-EU countries. TACs are shared between EU countries in the form of national quotas. For each stock a different allocation percentage per EU country is applied for the sharing out of the quotas. This fixed percentage is known as the relative stability key. EU countries can exchange quotas with other EU countries. EU countries have to use transparent and objective criteria when they distribute the national quota among their fishermen. They are responsible for ensuring that the quotas are not overfished. When all the available quota of a species is fished, the EU country has to close the fishery.

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