New battle over herring in the EU

16 January, 2024

Attempts to change fishing rules after the fact are rejected by the EU Parliament.

Now L wants the government to “step up” the protection of the herring – despite the government’s satisfied expression on this year’s quota decision.

When the EU member states agreed on the fishing quotas for the Baltic Sea in October, they chose not to follow the European Commission’s proposal for a fishing freeze for the herring. Instead, Finland and Sweden, among others, pushed through that after all catch quotas were set for 2024, albeit considerably lower than the year before.

The decision received sharp criticism from the environmental side, not least because it was considered that the EU countries did not follow their own rules, which were added to protect threatened fish stocks. The irritation became even greater when, in retrospect, it was proposed to abolish the rules that the fisheries ministers ignored – and in an extra-fast process.

Although the EU Parliament does not like it, which with a firm voice on Tuesday said no to the fast process.

– An important partial victory. The herring is extremely threatened and to go against what science says in that situation and instead of increasing protection for the herring increase the opportunities to fish can in the worst case lead to overfishing, says Swedish member Karin Karlsbro (L) to TT.

She is now hoping for changes when the proposal on the scrapped rules is to be processed in the normal way by the EU Parliament’s fisheries committee.

– We are working to stop this proposal. I hope that the parliament comes to that conclusion, and I also hope that Sweden’s government comes to that conclusion and steps up the work to protect the Baltic Sea, says Karlsbro.

These are the EU countries’ decisions on catch quotas for herring and sturgeon in the Baltic Sea in 2024 (comparison in percentage with 2023 in brackets):

Herring in the Bothnian Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia: 55,000 tonnes (-31)

Western Baltic herring: 788 tonnes, by-catch only (unchanged)

Central Baltic herring: 40,368 tonnes (-43)

Herring in the Gulf of Riga: 37,959 tonnes (-17)

Herring: 201,000 tonnes (-10)

Source: EU Council of Ministers.

Text: Wiktor Nummelin/TT
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

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