The Department of Justice has issued an update to all employers of sea fishers under the Atypical Working Scheme DAFM Assistant Secretary General mcconalogue fishing sector meeting Commission proposes fishing opportunities for 2024 in the Atlantic, Kattegat and Skage

The European Commission has proposed fishing opportunities for 2024 in the Atlantic, Kattegat and Skagerrak

EU Commission Proposes Catch Limits for 2024 with New Multiannual Approach

The European Commission has unveiled its proposal to establish catch total allowable catches (TACs), for 18 fish stocks found in the EU’s Atlantic Ocean waters, Kattegat, and Skagerrak for the upcoming year, 2024. This proposal, rooted in scientific counsel, encompasses fish stocks under the sole management of the EU within these sea basins.

In an innovative approach, the Commission is introducing nine TACs to span two to three years, a departure from the annual evaluations, influenced by input from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) scientists.

Following ICES recommendations once more, the Commission is putting forth 12 TACs aiming at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), signifying the maximum volume of fish that can be sustainably harvested without jeopardizing stock regeneration and future productivity. Consequently, catch limits for five stocks, including megrims, anglerfish, hake, horse mackerel in Iberian waters, and plaice in Kattegat, are proposed to increase in adherence to this scientific advice.

Proposed Enhanced Catch Limits

The Commission’s proposal suggests an impressive 19% increase for plaice in Kattegat. For hake in the southern Bay of Biscay, Iberian waters, and the Azores region, it advocates a 10% boost, aligning with the Western Waters Multi-Annual Plan. Furthermore, megrims and anglerfish in Iberian waters are marked for respective increases of +11% and +7%.

 

Advancing Predictability with Multiannual Decisions

In a bid to enhance predictability, nine TACs are being introduced for the next two to three years, stepping away from the yearly allocations, while emphasizing long-term sustainability. These stocks include plaice (West of Ireland), whiting and pollack (Bay of Biscay), plaice (Iberian Waters), Norway lobster (Bay of Biscay – FU25), sole (Irish waters), and sole (Iberian waters).

 

Safeguarding Eels Continues

In recognition of the critical status of eel stocks, the Commission is proposing to retain existing protective measures for eels in EU waters. The specific regions covered include the Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and Mediterranean waters. The Commission’s proposal seeks to adapt to additional measures in the Mediterranean Sea post-2023 following the annual meeting of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean.

 

Shared Stocks and Further Guidance

This proposal will be updated following consultations with Norway and the United Kingdom, alongside decisions made by regional fisheries management organizations.

Additional stocks, exclusively managed by the EU, are currently pending scientific advice (such as anchovy in the Bay of Biscay, three stocks of Norway lobster, and cod in the Kattegat). The TAC for anchovy in Iberian waters and waters surrounding the Azores has already been established until June 2024.

Figures for TACs with pending scientific advice or ongoing consultations with non-EU nations are marked as ‘pm’ (pro memoria) within the proposal. These figures will be incorporated when advice becomes available or when consultations conclude and will be published by the Commission.

The Commission’s proposal will be deliberated by the Council on December 11 and 12, with the intention to establish fishing opportunities for 2024, and occasionally for 2025 and 2026. These regulations should become effective on January 1, 2024.

 

Background on Sustainable Fishing

The setting of fishing opportunities, or total allowable catches (TACs), is aimed at maintaining the health of most of Europe’s commercial fish stocks and aiding their regeneration while ensuring that EU fishers have sustainable fish stocks for economic activities. EU Member States are legally obliged under the common fisheries policy (CFP) to manage fish stocks at sustainable levels.

Significant strides have been made in the EU towards sustainable fishing, with 80% of TACs set at MSY levels in 2022, in contrast to only 14% in 2009. The Commission’s proposal is underpinned by scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). For stocks with comprehensive scientific assessments, the Commission is proposing fishing limits that align with MSY advice, while precautionary advice forms the basis for stocks with less available data.

Engaging stakeholders, the Commission has conducted annual communications toward more sustainable fishing in the EU, summarizing the state of play and orientations for the following year. Taking into consideration the application of the landing obligation, the Commission proposes TACs based on the ICES catch advice. The proposed EU quotas also consider discards exempted from quotas, which are deducted from the EU quotas and marked ‘pm’ in this proposal. The Commission will define the details of the landing obligation’s implementation in 2024 after the delegated regulations come into effect. Furthermore, for stocks for which ICES provides only landings advice, the Commission proposes TACs based on that advice.

Table 1: Proposal for Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for 2024

Common name

Scientific name

TAC area

Proposed EU TAC for 2024 (tonnes)

Proposed EU TAC change from 2023

Explanation

Megrims

Lepidorhombus spp.

8c, 9 and 10; Union waters of CECAF 34.1.1

3 622

+11%

The TAC covers two species.

The Commission proposes to set the TAC in line with the MSY advice and FMSY point value for both species.

Anglerfishes

Lophiidae

 

8c, 9 and 10; Union waters of CECAF 34.1.1

4 650

+7%

The TAC covers two species.

The Commission proposes to set the TAC in line with the MSY advice and FMSY point value for both species.

Whiting

 

Merlangius merlangus

8

For 2024 and 2025:

1 347

 

-41%

The Commission proposes to set the TACs for 2024 and for 2025 in line with the MSY advice.

Hake

Merluccius merluccius

8c, 9 and 10; Union waters of CECAF 34.1.1

17 445

+10%

The Commission proposes to set the TAC in line with the MSY advice and the highest value within the range of FMSY (MSY Fupper) in accordance with Article 4(5), point (a), of the Western Waters MAP.

Norway lobster 

Nephrops norvegicus

8c, functional unit 25

For 2024 and 2025:

0

0

The Commission proposes to set the TACs for 2024 and for 2025 in line with the MSY advice.

Norway lobster

Nephrops norvegicus

8c, functional unit 31

12,4

– 27%

The Commission proposes to set the TAC in line with the MSY advice.

Plaice

Pleuronectes platessa

Kattegat

2 349

 

+ 19%

The Commission proposes to set the TAC in line with MSY Flower as cod, for which there is a zero-catch advice, is a by-catch in this fishery.

Plaice

Pleuronectes platessa

7b and 7c

For 2024, 2025 and 2026:

15

-21%

The Commission proposes to set the TACs for 2024, 2025 and 2026 in line with the precautionary advice.

Plaice

Pleuronectes platessa

8, 9 and 10; Union waters of CECAF 34.1.1

For 2024 and 2025:

124

-20%

The Commission proposes to set the TACs for 2024 and 2025 in line with the precautionary advice.

Pollack

Pollachius pollachius

8a, 8b, 8d and 8e

For 2024 and 2025:

698

– 53%

The Commission proposes to set the TACs for 2024 and for 2025 in line with the MSY advice.

Pollack

Pollachius pollachius

8c

For 2024 and 2025:

78

– 53%

 

As above

Pollack

Pollachius pollachius

9 and 10; Union waters of CECAF 34.1.1

For 2024 and 2025:

96

– 53%

 

As above

Common sole

Solea solea

7b and 7c

For 2024, 2025 and 2026:

15

– 21%

Commission proposes TAC in line with precautionary advice.

Common sole

Solea solea

8a and 8b

2 489

 

– 7%

Commission proposes TAC in line with FMSY point value.

Sole

Solea spp.

8c, 8d, 8e, 9 and 10; Union waters of CECAF 34.1.1

For 2024 and 2025:

435

– 33%

The TAC covers three species of sole in this area. ICES only provides advice for common sole in this area.

For 2024 and 2025, the Commission proposes to set sub-TACs for common sole in line with the MSY advice. It also proposes to set the TACs in line with the advice for common sole taking into account the species-specific catches (48% common sole and 52% other sole species).

Horse mackerel

Trachurus spp.

9

173 873

 

+5%

The Commission proposes to set the TAC in line with the MSY advice.

Seabass

 

Northern and central Bay of Biscay

8ab

recreational

catches

(1 fish/day)

 

The Commission proposes to set the bag limit in line with the MSY advice.

 

 

Table 2: Stocks delegated to an individual Member State

Common name

Scientific name

TAC area

Delegated to

Horse Mackerel

Trachurus spp.

Union waters of CECAF (Canaries)

Spain

Horse Mackerel

Trachurus spp.

Union waters of CECAF (Madeira)

Portugal

Horse Mackerel

Trachurus spp.

10, Union waters of CECAF (Azores)

Portugal

‘Penaeus’ shrimps

Penaeus spp.

French Guiana waters

France

 

 

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