Sustainable fishing in the EU: current situation and directions for 2024.

Plan działania na rzecz lepszego

In the latest Communication from the European Commission entitled. “Sustainable fishing in the EU: current situation and directions for 2024” detailed information on the situation of European fisheries. A communiqué on the subject is published annually and launches a public consultation about the current situation and future directions of fishing opportunities for the coming year.

The communiqué outlines progress in achieving sustainable practices in the EU, assesses the balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities, and analyzes the socio-economic performance of the sector. The publication also includes the latest data on fish stocks. Analyses of their condition date back to 2020. for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea and of 2021. for EU waters of the northeastern Atlantic, including the Skagerrak/Kattegat straits and the Baltic Sea.

Sustainable fishing and its impact on fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea

In 2003. Most of the stocks of interest to the EU were heavily overfished, with a median fishing mortality rate of 1.68 FMSY in the Northeast Atlantic. Since then, the rate has declined, reaching its lowest value in 2021. at 0.76. In the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the median mortality rate dropped from 2.06 FMSY in 2003. To 1.7 FMSY in 2020.

Fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic generally fall within appropriate ranges, according to the release, and the latest assessment shows the best sustainability performance to date. A particularly positive example is the Bay of Biscay, which in its latest assessment (from 2021) became the first EU marine area without overfished stocks. This proves that efforts to fish sustainably are yielding positive results.

Sustainable fishing is improving the situation in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, but fishing mortality remains a major problem. Its rate for 2020, according to the latest available data, is the lowest so far, but still 71% higher than recommended. As a result, additional measures are still needed to improve the situation. In addition, fishing communities are feeling the effects of climate change, leading to uncertainty due to the decreasing availability of fish. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is also affecting fishermen’s access to sufficient resources, and further efforts are needed to combat it.

Sustainable fishing: the current situation in the Baltic Sea

The situation in the Baltic Sea remains a challenge. In addition to overfishing, fish populations are impacted by high levels of pollution associated with nutrient inputs and persistently high concentrations of pollutants. Four of the ten fisheries (Atlantic herring, two cod stocks and salmon in the main basin) are no longer targeted and can only be caught as bycatch. In view of the current situation, the European Commission has announced measures to address the various pressures on fish stocks and help improve the health of the Baltic Sea ecosystems.

Sustainable fishing for 2024.

As part of its work on directions for fishing opportunities for 2024, the European Commission is inviting member states, advisory committees, the fishing industry, NGOs and interested citizens to share their views on the current situation and directions for 2024. The public consultation runs until August 9, 2023, and opinions can be posted at European Commission website.

Following a public consultation, the European Commission will present three proposals for regulations on fishing opportunities for 2024: in the Atlantic and North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The proposals will take into account multi-year plans and be based on scientific advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), as well as economic analysis provided by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). The proposals will also include adjustments resulting from the implementation of the landing obligation. The European Council, after discussing the proposals, will decide on fishing quotas for 2024 at its meetings in October and December this year.

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