Today, EU Fisheries Ministers agreed fishing opportunities for 2023 for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius welcomed the agreement:
Today’s agreement shows that the EU and Member States remain committed to improving the state of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. This agreement translates the success of the adoption of the five new multiannual management plans (MAPs) by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) into our EU fishing opportunities. We are continuing with much needed effort reductions for trawlers under the EU western Mediterranean MAP and the management of deep-water shrimps through catch limits and we are also expanding the compensation mechanism to promote a better protection of juveniles and spawners, while rewarding fishers’ efforts in respect of increased selectivity. Together, we are making our fisheries more sustainable and helping our stocks to recover.
Continued implementation of the western Mediterranean multiannual management plan
For the western Mediterranean, the regulation continues the implementation of the EU MAP for demersal stocks, adopted in June 2019.
The scientific advice once again confirmed that we need to continue our combined actions to achieve the goal of sustainable fisheries management (maximum sustainable yield – MSY) by 1 January 2025. To ensure that EU fisheries remain on track for this milestone, the regulation makes use of all the management tools and other flexibility elements available under the plan.
It continues the reduction of the trawling fishing effort by 7%, combined with the implementation of additional management tools, such as catch limits for deep water shrimps and controlling the effort freeze for longliners.
Furthermore, in order to strengthen ecosystem resilience, the regulation expands the compensation mechanism introduced in 2022, granting 3,5% additional fishing days for trawlers. This provision rewards the use of more selective gears, the establishment of more efficient closure areas to protect juveniles and spawners, and greater use of minimum conservation reference size (MCRS) for the protection of juvenile hake.
All measures will ensure the reduction of fishing mortality, while minimising the socio-economic impact on the fleets.
New catch limits for Mediterranean species with high commercial value
The regulation introduces, for the first time, catch limits to manage Mediterranean species with high commercial value, such as deep-water shrimps in the Strait of Sicily, the Ionian Sea and the Levant Sea.
There are also new fishing opportunities for several subregions of the Mediterranean Sea, stemming from the five new multiannual management plans (MAPs) adopted by the GFCM at its annual session in November. This is an important step forward for the sustainable exploitation of these species. Catch limits are reduced by 3% compared to the 2021 levels and are combined with fleet management measures.
Also based on the provisions of the new MAPs, in the Strait of Sicily, the regulation introduces an effort regime for hake, combined with a capacity freeze for all the fleets. In the Alboran Sea, to ensure stock recovery, there are new catch limits for the blackspot seabream (reduced by 7% compared to the 2018-2021 reference period), combined with fleet capacity limitations and recreational fishing restrictions.
Advances towards the sustainable exploitation of Adriatic Sea stocks
In the Adriatic Sea, the regulation continues the implementation of measures for the management of the small pelagic species and demersal stocks, based on the provisions of the MAPs adopted by the GFCM in 2019 and 2021.
For small pelagics, there is a catch reduction of 5% for anchovy and 9% for sardines and a fishing capacity ceiling. For demersal stocks, the regulation sets new EU effort levels with a further reduction of 5.2% for demersal trawlers and a 3% reduction for beam trawlers. These measures will allow the stocks to continue improving,. Their effectiveness has been confirmed by the latest scientific advice, which shows an increase in the biomass of most stocks subject to the plan for the third consecutive year.
Finally, for the Black Sea, the regulation transposes the GFCM decisions to roll-over the total allowable catches (TAC) for turbot, as well as to carry-over the unused EU turbot quotas from 2021 to 2023. The Black Sea sprat quotas remain at the 2022 level.
- Publication date
- 13 December 2022
- Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries