The Danish fishing industry has called on politicians for an increase in the North Sea sprat quota for next year
The Danish Fisheries Association, the Danish Pelagic Producers’ Organization and Marine Ingredients Denmark have together approached Christiansborg’s fisheries rapporteurs to draw attention to the very critical situation that the industry is currently in. And it’s all about sprat!
North Sea sprat is one of the most important stocks for the Danish fishing industry. The small protein fish is predominantly fished by Danish vessels and landed at the factories in Thyborøn, Hanstholm and Skagen, where it is processed into fishmeal and fish oil, which are exported worldwide.
This year, the biological recommendation is that 106,000 tonnes can be fished next year. The prospect of this very low sprat quota is unexpected, as from the point of view of both biologists and fishermen it is a good and healthy stock. With the proposed quota, the stock will grow by 29% until next year.
Therefore, the industry does not believe that right now is the time to increase the stock size further. The situation is critical for industrial fishing and fishmeal factories in Denmark due to the very low sandeel quotas and numerous post-Brexit effects.
“If no political action is taken, it will cost jobs in Coastal Denmark in the near future,” says Anne Mette Bæk, director of Marine Ingredients Denmark, and elaborates:
“No one is more interested in the fact that fishing takes place at a sustainable level than us who make a living from fishing. But when the biological models have been given so many layers of precautionary principles that the quota has been halved in relation to the level that would give the optimal fishing pressure, then we are far beyond going with life belts and harnesses. It’s like wearing a bandage in your own living room. We do not have to be so careful when there are so many jobs at stake.”