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EU Ministers briefed on fishing limits and Bluefin tuna

Luxembourg, 20th October 2010. In an open letter sent to Ministers ahead of the EU Fisheries Council meeting next week, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat have set out a list of recommendations for the Council’s decisions on fishing limits in the Baltic and the EU negotiating mandate on the management of bluefin tuna by the ICCAT.

The upcoming Council meeting is likely to be the first real trial for Commissioner Damanaki and her position that the scientific advice for fishing limits should be followed. Indications are that several Member States will challenge this position and push for quota above what is recommended by the scientific bodies – a bad habit that has lead to 72% of all assessed fish stocks being overfished, threatening the long-term viability of the EU fishing sector.

For the Baltic Sea, severe cuts are proposed for the pelagic stocks – Baltic herring and sprat – which will affect a number of countries in the region. The bluefin tuna negotiations will also be highly political, as several EU Member States have a history of overfishing their quotas and have shown a great reluctance to commit to better protection of the stock in the past. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) annual meeting will be particularly crucial for the future of the Atlantic bluefin tuna, as the stock has rapidly declined over the past few decades and is in a highly critical state.

We – FISH and SAR – are supportive of the Commissioner’s position on fishing limits and believe the upcoming Council will be a crucial test of the Member States’ commitment to prioritising long-term sustainability in this period leading up to the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy in 2012.

The recommendations sent out to the EU Fisheries Ministers are backed up by detailed information (see link to annexes below).

The Fisheries Council Meeting takes place on the 25–26 October.

Letter to Ministers, EU Fisheries Council meeting October 2010
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Annex Baltic Quotas
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