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Tuesday, 07 January 2014

Council reaches political agreement on fishing opportunities

During the last Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 17 December 2013, Ministers unanimously reached political agreement on the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks available next year in EU waters and for EU vessels in certain non–EU waters on a basis of a Presidency compromise, drawn up in agreement with the European Commission and taking into consideration some main remarks/concerns from EU Member States. Lithuanian Presidency broke with the traditional overnight councils and the above mentioned agreement reached in record time.
The agreement fixed fishing effort, total allowable catches (TAC’s) and quotasallocation among fishing States in the EU waters and international waters for 2014.
“After intensive two days discussions we have reached a balanced compromise that allows for a number of stocks to reach maximum sustainable yield in 2015 ensuring the sustainable use of fishery resources and vitality of fisheries”, noted Minister of Agriculture of Lithuania prof. Vigilijus Jukna.
As opposed to 2012 and 2013, this year one single document was presented for the fishing opportunities on which the EU decides alone and fishing opportunities that are fixed on the basis of decisions taken in the framework of bilateral or multilateral negotiations. The new Common Fisheries Policy will come into effect on 1 January 2014 and it will be an important year for Member States as they prepare for the forthcoming Landing Obligation which once implemented will mean the end of discards in EU waters.
During the Council session there was also adopted the Proposal for a Council Regulation fixing the fishing opportunities for the certain commercially the most important fish stocks – turbot and sprat – in the Black Sea for 2014. Two Member states, namely Bulgaria and Romania, are concerned by it. European Commission proposed to cut the EU quota for turbot by 15%, to 74 tonnes and to keep the EU quota for sprat unchanged at 11,475 tonnes. Finally in the Council Fisheries Ministers agreed to keep quota for both fish stocks unchanged as in 2013 subsequent to the Presidency proposing the draft statements of Council, Commission and Bulgaria, Romania.

Source: Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU