EU fisheries ministers engaged in initial discussion on proposals proposed by the European Commission regarding fishing opportunities for 2024. Photo: Council of Ministers
Yesterday, Monday 20 November, Fisheries ministers from European Union member states engaged in a crucial initial discussion on proposals put forth by the European Commission regarding fishing opportunities for the Atlantic and the North Sea in 2024, extending to 2025 and 2026 for specific stocks.
Additionally, the ministers considered the proposal outlining fishing opportunities in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea for the year 2024.
The stocks under consideration are those managed by the EU independently, in collaboration with neighbouring non-EU nations, or through agreements established under regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs).
This preliminary exchange of views among ministers lays the foundation for the upcoming December Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting. During this gathering, ministers are anticipated to reach a political consensus on the aforementioned proposals.
The primary objective of the December decision is to establish catch and effort limits for most commercial fish stocks in the coming year. This decision will also determine national quotas for each species.
In a noteworthy departure, the Commission has proposed, for the first time, setting catch limits for a span of 2 to 3 years, referred to as ‘multiannual total allowable catches (TACs)’ for nine specific stocks. This shift is based on multiannual advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The aim of this multiannual approach is to provide certainty and stability for the fishing industry while streamlining the decision-making process.
Ministers at the meeting expressed appreciation for the opportunity to commence discussions on fishing opportunities ahead of the December Council meeting. They underscored the crucial importance of balancing the three pillars of the common fisheries policy: social, economic, and environmental sustainability within the fisheries sector.
Among the additional topics discussed were the necessity of maintaining a level playing field with fishing fleets from third countries and ensuring positive outcomes in the EU’s consultations with these nations, with specific emphasis on ongoing talks with the UK and Norway. The ministers emphasised the need for results that are both positive and satisfying for all parties involved.