The Council has approved the EU-UK fishing deal for 2024
The European Council has given its approval to the EU-UK fishing deal for 2024, securing fishing rights for EU nations in the Atlantic and the North Sea.
The agreement, reached after extensive negotiations, ensures stability and certainty for EU fishermen and the fishing industry as a whole.
Spanish Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas Puchades, expressed satisfaction with the agreement, emphasizing its importance in protecting fishing rights and meeting sustainability commitments. The deal, covering approximately 100 shared fish stocks, outlines the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for 2024 and the respective fishing rights of the EU and the UK.
The agreement, endorsed through a written procedure, is part of the annual process of setting fishing opportunities in EU and non-EU waters for the coming year. The figures for stocks shared with the UK will be incorporated into the main regulation on fishing opportunities for the Atlantic and the North Sea at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on December 10 and 11.
The EU and the UK based their agreement on scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), aligning with the EU’s common fisheries policy and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the UK. For stocks with no ICES advice, both parties committed to working together to improve data availability for future scientific advice.
Several key points of the agreement include the establishment of specific TACs for by-catches, focusing on species caught unintentionally while fishing for other specific species. The set TACs aim to prevent an increase in fishing mortality and facilitate stock rebuilding.
The agreement reflects a commitment to decreasing TACs for certain stocks where scientific advice suggests reductions are necessary for sustainability. For instance, reductions are agreed for haddock in the Irish Sea, haddock in the Celtic Sea, whiting in the Celtic Sea, and plaice by-catches in the English Channel.
Conversely, TACs are increased for selected stocks, such as whiting in the West of Scotland and megrims in the North Sea, based on scientific advice for sustainable management.
Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, jointly managed fish stocks are considered shared resources under international law. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement outlines the terms for determining fishing rights, and both parties commit to annual consultations for setting TACs and quotas.
Ministers at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in December will aim to reach a political agreement on fishing opportunities for 2024, and in some cases, for 2025 and 2026. The figures for EU-UK shared stocks will be part of this political agreement, and the regulation will be formally adopted by the Council, applying from January 01, 2024.