Baltic Sea fishing opportunities proposal released

The European Commission has submitted a proposal on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2024: TACs and environmental concerns.
Fishing boats on the sandy beach in Chlopy village port, Baltic Sea coast, Poland. Photo by: Adobe Stock.
Fishing boats on the sandy beach in Chlopy village port, Baltic Sea coast, Poland. Photo by: Adobe Stock.

The European Commission has submitted a proposal on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2024. This plan is in response to a scientific assessment indicating that several fish stocks are in a critical situation.

A meeting that will determine the next steps for the final decision is scheduled for October during a ministerial meeting. These decisions will approve measures that align fishing with long-term sustainability goals and address the critical situation of fish populations in the Baltic Sea. The most crucial aspects for the countries involved are the total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas for some stocks (three of ten) in the Baltic Sea.

Different measures for different species

The first is to increase salmon fishing possibilities in the Gulf of Finland by 7%. This is intended to reduce salmon fishing in the Main Basin by 15% and to reduce herring catches in the Gulf of Riga by 20%. Additionally, the salmon fishing opportunities and regulations for salmon in the Main Basin will be adapted based on scientific recommendations.

On the other hand, the possibility of closing the fisheries targeting herring stocks in the Gulf of Bothnia and the central Baltic is being considered. According to the Commission's analysis, these stocks have fallen below minimum levels.

The proposals also include a more exhaustive study of certain stocks. First, in the report, the commission wants to request additional information from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) for stocks of western cod, eastern cod, western herring, herring from Bothnia, and central herring due to joint fishing with other species. Second, he also wanted to assess the status of flounder and sprat in terms of cod protection and joint fishing with herring.

Environment under debate: Baltic Europe's most polluted waters

Besides addressing fish stocks, the EU is also concerned about the environmental situation. The document expresses concern about the degradation of the environment in the Baltic Sea.

These waters are the most polluted in Europe, suffering from issues such as the loss of biodiversity, climate change, eutrophication, overfishing, and high levels of pollutants like pharmaceuticals and garbage. To improve the situation, the European Commission has announced the second edition of the "Our Baltic Conference", which will be held in Palanga, Lithuania, on September 29, 2023. This high-level event will bring together ministers from the eight EU countries surrounding the Baltic Sea (Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, and Sweden) to discuss and implement measures to improve the condition of its waters.

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