The EU has concluded an agreement with the United Kingdom on the fishing opportunities for 2023 for fish stocks shared bilaterally with the UK in the Northeast Atlantic.
The agreement will contribute to the sustainable management of jointly managed fish stocks present in both parties’ waters, as well as provide stability and predictability for fleets and operators. It applies to more than 74 stocks and secures fishing opportunities of over 350,000 tonnes for the EU fleet, estimated to be worth around €1 billion based on historic landing prices, adjusted for inflation.
The deal closes the third annual consultations on fishing opportunities between the EU and the UK under the terms of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). It covers all shared and jointly managed fisheries resources in EU and UK waters, establishing total allowable catch limits (TACs) for 2023 for the shared stocks, as well as reciprocal access to fishing for albacore tuna.
The agreement is based on the best available scientific advice regarding the state of fish stocks, as provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). It takes into account important sustainability and management principles, such as maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and the precautionary approach, which are central to the EU’s common fisheries policy (CFP) and to the fisheries chapter of the TCA.
In addition, the parties committed to several concrete work streams to improve the sustainable management of shared fish stocks over the course of next year within the EU-UK Specialised Committee on Fisheries, including a review of technical measures to protect vulnerable stocks across sea basins.
The agreed catch limits will be incorporated by the Council into the fishing opportunities Regulation for 2023, which has been politically agreed during the recent Council of EU fisheries Ministers.
The Parties will hold in-year consultations during 2023 for three other jointly managed stocks, for which the scientific advice does not align with the calendar year: sprat (North Sea and the English Channel) and sandeel (North Sea, all banks).
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said:
“Today’s agreement will secure fishing opportunities for fishermen and women, and support the livelihoods of coastal communities on both sides of the English Channel, the Irish Sea and the North Sea. It will advance the sustainable use of shared living marine resources, provide certainty for our fishermen for the year ahead and establish a solid foundation for further fisheries management cooperation with the UK”.