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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 24.08.2019, 19:01

European Commission imposes ban on commercial code fishing in most of Baltic Sea

BC, Riga, 23.07.2019.Print version
The European Commission has announced emergency measures to save the ailing eastern Baltic cod stock from impending collapse, as part of which commercial fishing for cod in most of the Baltic Sea is banned until Dec. 31, 2019, reported LETA/BNS.

The ban will come into force immediately and last until Dec. 31, 2019. It will cover all fishing vessels and apply in all those areas of the Baltic Sea where the largest part of the stock is present, meaning subdivisions 24-26, except for some specific targeted derogations, the Commission said in a press release.

It follows measures that have already been taken by some member states. Given that these measures do not ensure a uniform approach in all areas where the eastern Baltic cod stock is found, and that not all member states intend to adopt national measures, the Commission has decided that further emergency action is warranted.

The Commission and member states will revisit the need for longer-term action later in the year, when ministers meet to decide on next year's fishing opportunities. Scientists also warn of many factors besides fishing that threaten the stock and that need to be addressed separately, including a lack of salinity, too high water temperatures and too little oxygen, as well as parasite infestation.

The Commission pointed out that recent scientific analysis has reinforced concerns regarding eastern Baltic cod, as we are witnessing a rapid decline of the stock that risks leading to a collapse if no action is taken. International scientific bodies have therefore called for a complete fishing stop to turn the situation around. The Commission has analysed the scientific evidence available and has discussed these measures with the member states at an expert committee meeting.

Following scientific advice, total allowable catches for eastern Baltic cod have already been reduced every year since 2014, from 65,934 tons down to 24,112 tons in 2019.

Under the common fisheries policy, the Commission may, at the reasoned request of a member state or on its own initiative, take emergency measures to alleviate a serious threat to the conservation of marine biological resources. These measures may be applicable for a maximum period of six months.


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