I would like to thank the Austrian Presidency for their work in facilitating a compromise. Today, we have adopted important decisions on deep sea stocks. As you know, these are very vulnerable species that need decades to grow and reproduce. We often have incomplete knowledge about these stocks. But we know one thing for certain: many of these stocks have been overfished for years.
That is why the Commission proposed to follow the precautionary advice provided by scientists for nearly all stocks.
I am satisfied that Council has followed these proposals for the large majority of stocks.
In some cases, this allowed us to increase fishing opportunities, fully in line with scientific advice, for example, for some stocks such as red seabream in area 10.
Importantly, for all stocks where scientists recommended reductions, we agreed to reduce the fishing pressure. In some cases, like for red seabream in areas 6-8, Member States made additional commitments to adopt national measures to protect juveniles.
Decisions today will also help our industry to avoid choke situations, i.e. where they would otherwise have to stop fishing for one stock because they ran out of quota for another. This is very important because it shows that solutions can be found to the landing obligation, which will enter into force on 1 January next year.
And last but not least, these decisions will allow all EU-fleets fishing deep-sea stocks to remain profitable in 2019. This is particularly good news for some of the artisanal and small-scale fisheries that fish for deep-sea species.
I think this gives us a solid basis from which to progress further towards environmental, economic and social sustainability.
We have also discussed the implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
After four and a half years of its existence, only 13% of the Fund has been implemented.
I have informed Ministers that there is a clear risk of losing part of the funds that could otherwise benefit our fishermen, local communities or scientists. In fact, we are now mid-November and more than EUR 400 million is at risk of being lost at the end of the year.
I have asked them to take all possible measures to accelerate the implementation of the projects on the ground and offered them the full support of the Commission.
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- 19 lapkritis 2018
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