The European Commission has adopted the report on multiannual plan for the Baltic Sea
The plan will support the upcoming autumn’s negotiations on fishing opportunities for 2021.
Overall, the Commission considers that the multiannual plan (MAP) has been helpful in implementing the common fisheries policy, notably for setting fishing opportunities, although the Baltic Sea also faces wider challenges that affect ecosystems and fisheries.
Long-term trends that predate the MAP have a substantial impact on the evolution of the marine environment and the fish stocks in the Baltic Sea. The MAP’s implementation has decreased fishing pressure since 2016 and contributed to a moderately positive development in fisheries over the past years. Other environmental pressures beyond fisheries are having substantial effects on the health of certain stocks.
“The report on the multiannual plan for the Baltic Sea clearly demonstrates the complexity of managing fish stocks in an environment with multiple and constantly evolving pressures. I have called the Our Baltic conference later this month to agree a comprehensive approach, so that we can turn around the situation in the Baltic Sea and put it on a long-term sustainable footing. We cannot blame the fishing sector alone, we must address various pressures on the Baltic Sea altogether”, said Virginijus Sinkevicius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.
Overall, the Commission considers that the MAP has been helpful in implementing the common fisheries policy, notably for setting fishing opportunities. The MAP has made it easier to put in place flanking measures to help stocks recover, and without the MAP, quotas likely would have been set at a higher level. At the same time, the MAP has enabled flexibility for healthy stocks by allowing the use of the upper FMSY range to buffer severe reductions in quotas. Thanks to the MAP, all fisheries are now either managed in line with maximum sustainable yield (MSY) or measures are put in place to bring them back to MSY. Altogether, it provides a basis for the long-term profitability of the fishing industry.
At the ‘Our Baltic’ conference hosted by Commissioner Sinkevicius on 28 September, decision-makers and experts addressed the challenge of long-term sustainability in the Baltic Sea.