EU countries agree on fishing– but receive criticism

14 December, 2021

EU fisheries ministers have agreed on fisheries in the Atlantic, including the North Sea, the Skagerrak and the Kattegat, next year.

Environmental organizations are critical of parts of the agreement. France, Spain and Portugal, in particular, are singled out as irresponsible.

The agreement applies to fisheries that take place entirely in EU waters, but also fisheries shared with Norway and fisheries that are jointly managed by the EU, Norway and the UK.

For fisheries that only the EU and the UK share, there is as yet no agreement. There, temporary rules will apply for the first three months of 2022, according to a press release from the European Commission.

Several environmental organisations are disappointed with the content of the agreement. In about a third of the stocks concerned, fishing will be greater than recommended by scientific experts, several sources said.

The organizations Our Fish and Seas at Risk point out in a press release that Spain, Portugal and France in particular “proudly declared their intention” to go against the scientific advice.

A representative of the organization Oceana criticizes the ministers of the three countries mentioned, but also Denmark, among others, for “continuing to disregard overfishing, as if there were no tomorrow,” according to a press release. Oceana specifically expresses concern for South Atlantic hake and for the sole of the Iberian Peninsula.

Some changes for Sweden’s part in the fisheries ministers’ agreement on 2022:

Herring in the North Sea: Fishing may increase by 20%.

Herring in the Skagerrak and Kattegat: Fishing may increase by 16%, but most of the quota is moved and must be fished in the North Sea.

Saithe in the North Sea and Skagerrak: Fishing is down by 24%.

Whiting in the North Sea: Fishing may increase by 25%.

Cod in the Kattegat: Fishing, which is already small and consists only of by-catch, is reduced by 21%.

Norway lobster in the Skagerrak and Kattegat: Fishing is reduced by 31%, to avoid by-catch of cod. However, Sweden is not fishing up the entire quota we have this year. The reason is that we have too few fishing vessels, says Swedish Fishermen.

Shrimp in the Skagerrak and Kattegat: Fishing, which is regulated in a special way, may increase by 52% in the first half of the year. The stock had increased significantly in a survey made last spring.

The EU decision affects a total of around 250 fish stocks in different areas. Sweden has a share in about 45 of these.

Source: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, Swedish Fishermen, Swedish Pelagic Federation

Text: Micke Larsson/TT
Photo: Michael Probst/AP/TT

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