EU slashes Baltic cod quotas

Quota will be reduced by 25 percent for Eastern cod, and 56 percent for Western cod.

The European Council has agreed to cut cod quotas in both the east and west Baltic for 2017.

On Oct. 10, the council unanimously agreed on next year’s total allowable catches (TACs) for the 10 commercially most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea.

During discussions, the council agreed to slash the quota by 25 percent for eastern cod, and 56 percent for western cod. The latter includes bag limit provisions for recreational fisheries.

For 2016, EU fisheries ministers decided to cut the quotas for western and eastern cod in the Baltic Sea by 20 percent.

This meant the total allowable catch (TAC) for eastern cod for 2016 was set at 41,143 metric tons, while catches for western cod was set at 12,720 metric tons.

Therefore, the recent decision should see the eastern cod quota reduced to around 30,857 metric tons for 2017 and the western cod quota slashed to 5,597 metric tons.

The council also approved an 11 percent reduction in herring TAC in the Gulf of Riga and 20 percent for salmon in the Gulf of Finland.

This agreement paves the way for further negotiations on TACs for the deep sea and the North Sea later this year.

It also includes an increase in catches for herring, except in the Gulf of Riga, plaice, and salmon except in the Gulf of Finland.

For the remaining stocks, ministers decided on a smaller increase for sprat and no increase for salmon in the main basin.

“Today’s agreement is an excellent result, both for the environment and the Baltic fishermen,” said Gabriela Matečná, minister for agriculture and rural development of Slovakia and president of the council. 

“It was not easy but we managed to achieve a good balance between the sustainability of our marine resources and the needs of the fisheries sector of the countries concerned, in full compliance with the new Baltic multiannual plan.”

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