The European Commission is proposing new regulations on fisheries regarding the Total Allowable Catches (TAC) for a number of species for 2019 and 2020. The aim is to restore deep-sea fish stocks in the North Sea Atlantic. Based on research, these new measures will make it possible to rebuild fish stocks to sustainable levels. The proposal is a precautionary measure to reverse the worrying situation of declining deep-sea fish stocks.
“It is in our shared interest to ensure that we have healthy fish stocks in deep-sea waters, for the sake of our fishermen and coastal communities, their livelihoods and for our marine ecosystems. Evidence also shows that sustainable fish stocks go hand in hand with a thriving industry,” Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. The deep seas are among the most vulnerable ecosystems and they take a long time to mature. The Commission is basing its proposal on the evidence from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), taking into account the obligation for fishermen to bring to land all catches as of 1 January 2019.
At the same time, the Commission is also proposing to remove the TAC obligation for three species (greater forkbeard in the North East Atlantic, roundnose grenadier in the North Sea and black scabbardfish in the North Sea and Skagerrak), since they are fished in small quantities. The EU fishing industry is the world’s fourth largest, supplying some 6.4 million tons of fish each year. Fishing and fish processing provide jobs for over 350,000 people. The EU seeks to ensure that fishing is sustainable – both economically and environmentally – while protecting consumers’ interests and taking fishermen’s needs into account.