Source: DG MARE, EC
In a consultation document adopted today, the European Commission sets out its intentions for fixing fishing opportunities for 2013. Through this annual document the Commission asks for the views of Member States and stakeholders on the setting of Total Allowable Catches (TACs), quotas and fishing effort (days-at-sea) for the following year. The document shows that the Commission’s efforts to phase out overfishing are starting to bear fruit. There are now 20 fish stocks in European seas which are known not to be overfished, compared to only 5 stocks in 2009. Reducing TACs in the past years even made it possible to increase some TACs for 2012. This could result in at least €135 million extra income for the fishing industry.
The above figures show that following scientific advice when setting TACs helps fish stocks rebuild. As a result, fishermen are rewarded with higher catches and higher income, and the environmental impact of fishing is less. These figures also show that a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is necessary in order to apply on a wider scale the methods that have proved to work in the long-term and incorporate them into EU policy-making. Overfishing cannot be phased out through year after year setting of TACs only. Long-term management, a fully science based approach and eliminating catastrophic practices such as discarding are needed, as spelled out in the Commission proposal on CFP reform.
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki has stated: “We are now seeing some improvements towards ending overfishing, but we need to go the extra mile and adopt the CFP reform if we want to guarantee these improvements in the long term.”