EU fisheries ministers have unanimously agreed on two-year fishing limits to 2018 for 19 deep-sea stocks, and roundnose grenadier in northern areas will be fished in accordance with Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) for the first time in 2017. Orange roughy has been added to the list of prohibited species.
The agreement reduces the total allowable catch (TAC) of black scabbard, all stocks of roundnose grenadier, most red seabream and greater forkbeard, based on scientific advice and by stock status.
The Commission had proposed stronger cutbacks for some stocks; however the Council decided on more lenient reductions because of socio-economic impact for some small-scale fleets and on the basis that some stocks are inevitably fished as bycatch in the whitefish fishery.
The decision is in line with the Common Fisheries Policy which stipulates that biological and economic factors should be taken into account when setting fishing quotas.
Three small scientific TACs for deep-sea sharks as bycatch fisheries that use selective longlines targeting black scabbardfish are included in the new ageement. The Commission proposes to allow landing on a trial basis, given the sharks are dead when hauled and the lack of proper data.
“For the first time we will have one deep-sea stock fished at MSY in 2017, which is good progress,” remarked Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
“For those stocks for which scientists are unable to give us MSY advice, our ….recognises that we need to manage these sensitive stocks with caution, as we know little about them and as they recover very slowly.”