European Parliament to Decide Tomorrow on New Multiannual Plan for the Baltic Sea | Oceana

European Parliament to Decide Tomorrow on New Multiannual Plan for the Baltic Sea

Press Release Date: March 31, 2015

Location: Madrid


Anna Baxter | email:
Anna Baxter

On the 31st of March, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament will vote on a multiannual management plan for the fisheries in the Baltic Sea, critical for the future of over 94% of the catches in the region. This is the first multiannual plan (MAP) in the EU to be agreed under the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The plan aims at managing the stocks of cod, sprat and herring, as well as providing measures for by-catch species of some flatfish. If properly implemented, this plan provides the possibility of improving fisheries management in the Baltic Sea, where, particularly the Eastern Baltic, the cod stock is in a poor condition.

“Europe is bound by the CFP to urgently rebuild fisheries as the only path towards rescuing the economic wealth of coastal communities. The members of the European Parliament should demonstrate tomorrow that they are really committed to this goal,”said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “Without proper implementation, even the most ambitious policy remains a paper tiger. The Baltic plan should set an example for future regional plans and provide a truly new approach to fisheries management.”

Oceana believes that the plan as proposed by the European Commission is incomplete. Oceana therefore urges the MEPs to ensure that all shortcomings of the proposal are addressed. The multiannual plan should:

  • deliver the CFP objectives, especially to restore and maintain fish populations above levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) by 2015 – 2020 at the latest – in order to ensure healthy stocks and stable and profitable fisheries
  • integrate the ecosystem approach and minimise the impact of fisheries on the marine environment
  • contribute to achieving “Good Environmental Status” before 2020 as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and converge with other EU environmental legislation
  • incorporate the most recent scientific advice and provide safeguards in case of ecosystem emergencies, such as the collapse of fish stocks.

A management plan for the cod stocks has been in place since 2007, but the new proposal should offer an updated, more comprehensive approach to Baltic fisheries by taking into account species interactions. The new multiannual plan should ensure sustainable exploitation of the Baltic stocks in question.