The Commission has published its proposal setting out catch limits for fish stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea for 2021. Following scientific advice, the European Commission presented a proposal with 23 Total Allowable Catches (TACs). For 13 fish stocks, the Commission proposes to decrease the fishing quota, while it proposes increasing the quota for horse mackerel in the Iberian waters and sole in Kattegat by 5% and 12% respectively.
Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Today’s proposal shows our commitment to preserving biodiversity at sea, which is the basis for our coastal communities to thrive. 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. This is our guiding principle also in negotiations with our international partners.”
Four Total Allowable Catches (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.
The proposal also covers the Total Allowable Catches that will be decided in cooperation with non-EU countries, such as the United Kingdom and Norway. 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. Based on this proposal, EU fisheries ministers will set the final catch limits at the Council on 15-16 December, to apply as of 1 January 2021. More information is available in the press release.