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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement12 December 2023Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Fisheries ministers adopt 2024 fishing opportunities for the North-East Atlantic

Seagulls engulf a fishing boat on the water ©Yves/stock.adobe.com
Seagulls engulf a fishing boat on the water
©Yves/stock.adobe.com

Today, the Council agreed on fishing opportunities for 2024 for the fish stocks managed by the EU in the Atlantic, Kattegat and Skagerrak.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said:

We had intense negotiations spanning over three days. For the Commission and me personally, it was important to reach an agreement that is both balanced and responsible - preserving fishers’ livelihoods in the long term, and improving the chances for stock recovery and healthier stocks. Finally, I would like to thank fishers for their tremendous efforts over recent years to fish sustainably and to live up to their key role.

In the North-East Atlantic, the Council set 14 total allowable catches (TACs) in line with maximum sustainable yield (MSY) advice as proposed by the Commission. This includes an increase for megrims, anglerfish, hake, horse mackerel in the Iberian waters, as well as undulate rays. The Council has followed the Commission proposal to set a TAC at a low level for Norway lobster in Skagerrak and Kattegat and for plaice in Kattegat to protect cod. Out of the 9 TACs proposed by the Commission as multiannual, 8 TACs have been set for two years or more, providing increased predictability for the fishermen. This is the case for plaice (in the West of Ireland and in Iberian Waters), Norway lobster (Bay of Biscay–FU25), sole (in Irish waters and in Iberian waters), whiting (Bay of Biscay) and pollack (in the Bay of Biscay-8c and in Iberian waters).

In the Bay of Biscay, decreases have been agreed for Norway lobster, sole, seabass, pollack and whiting. In addition the agreement includes measures for recreational catches for pollack. On eels in the Northeast Atlantic, the agreement clarifies that the closure period must cover the peak migration period in marine waters across the EU.

This outcome was significantly facilitated by the ability to secure, before Council, fishing opportunities for 2024 on the vast majority of TACs in the Northeast Atlantic – namely those agreed in the frame of GFCM and other relevant RFMOs, and with third countries. The Fishing Opportunities Regulation includes the results of the agreements reached ahead of the Council with Norway and the UK on a bilateral basis, and between the three parties jointly, as well as with other coastal States. Stocks shared with third countries result in fishing opportunities for the EU in the next year of over 1.6 million tonnes and worthing almost €2.2 billion, covering more than 100 TACs.

The agreement includes TAC increases, in line with MSY,  inter alia West of Scotland haddock, North Sea whiting, herring in West of Scotland, nephrops in area 7, megrims, undulate ray in English Channel.

Background

Fishing opportunities, or total allowable catches (TACs), are set for many of Europe's commercial fish stocks. This ensures that fish stocks are exploited sustainably, in line with scientific advice, so that EU fishers have healthy fish stocks for their economic activities. Under the common fisheries policy (CFP), EU Member States are bound to manage fish stocks at sustainable levels.

The Council discussed the Commission proposal for the 2024 fishing opportunities on 10 to 12 December 2023.

More Information

TACs and quotas 2024

Commission proposal – fishing opportunities for 2024 in the Atlantic, Kattegat and Skagerrak

Press release - The EU and UK agree on fishing opportunities for 2024 worth around €1 billion to EU fishers

Press release - The EU reaches agreements with Norway and the UK and bilaterally with Norway on fishing opportunities and access to waters for 2024

Details

Publication date
12 December 2023 (Last updated on: 14 December 2023)
Author
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries