New quotas will allow Belgian fishermen to catch more sole, the same amount of plaice and skate, but less cod. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
European ministers in charge of fishing on Wednesday morning fixed the quotas to be applied next year in the Atlantic and the North Sea.
New quotas will permit Belgian fishermen to catch more sole, the same amount of plaice and skate, but less cod, the Flemish minister Hilde Crevits (CD&V) announced in a press release.
The year 2020 is a significant time for European fisheries: in the context of the common fisheries policy, the EU had made it an objective to harvest all fish stocks to the “maximum sustainable yield” (RMD), aiming to filter out over-fishing and preserve fish stocks by that date.
The Finnish minister Jari Leppa, whose country holds the revolving presidency of the EU, applauded the “excellent results” and commitment of all member states with regard to “sustaining all the stocks.”
A large part of the overnight negotiations was devoted to the “dire” predicament of cod in the Celtic Sea.
The Commission proposed a drastic 88% cut in the quota for these fishing zones. A decrease of 50% compared to the 2019 quota (1,610 tonnes) was finally decided upon.
The new quotas come with selectivity measures. One of the issues was finding “a solution so that by-catches are proportionately reflected,” the new European Commissioner for Fisheries, Lithuanian Virginijus Sinkevicius, explained.