The Council of fisheries ministers yesterday adopted the regulation fixing and allocating fishing opportunities under the CFP for the Baltic Sea. Especially the western Baltic cod stock has been under fire prior to, and during, the Council meeting as the cod stock is at critically low levels.
Scientists at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) recommended to drastically lower the total allowable catch (TAC) for the western cod stock by 88% for it to have a chance to recover. The Council decided to lower the TAC by 56% which means a slimmer possibility for the stock to recover to sustainable levels – also for commercial fisheries in the long-term.
– It is unfortunate that the first time that the TACs are set under the recently agreed Multiannual Management Plan for the Baltic Sea, the scientific advice is not followed, says Gustaf Almqvist, researcher and fishery policy expert at Baltic Eye.
– This decision significantly increases the risk for long-term negative effects for the stock. The same goes for the eastern cod stock for which the TAC considerably exceeded the scientific advice. As cod has key ecological functions this can have implications for the stability of the Baltic Sea ecosystem as a whole, Gustaf Almqvist continues.