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EC proposes multiannual fisheries management for the Baltic Sea

In order to increase predictability for fishermen and to ensure high, stable and sustainable catches, the European Commission has proposed a multiannual fisheries management plan for the Baltic Sea that applies to cod, herring and sprat stocks.  

The plan will ensure the sustainable exploitation of these Baltic Sea stocks so that the fishing industry can enjoy stable fisheries with higher yields.

  • For fishermen, it means clearer and simpler rules. The plan leaves room for manoeuver for Member States and stakeholders to decide about how to best implement the plan in their sea-basin. It also empowers local stakeholders when it comes to developing technical measures and taking ownership of fisheries management.

  • Since it applies to several fisheries, the plan ensures that the fisheries management is based on the most up to date scientific information on interactions within and between the stocks and with other aspects of the ecosystem and environment.

  • Rather than short-term planning, this multiannual plan takes a long term approach to the management of fish stocks, taking into account the specificities of different fisheries. This approach is crucial to the objective of exploiting fish stocks at a sustainable level.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "This plan for the Baltic Sea is what we sought to achieve when we reformed the Common Fisheries Policy. It gives power to regional actors, and instead of having year-on-year planning, this long term plans will help ensure the sustainability of our stocks in the Baltic and provide a reliable source of income from fishing for fishermen. The implementation of the reformed fisheries policy is now in full swing and I now look forward to seeing the other sea basins' plans."

This management plan is the first such proposal under the new Common Fisheries Policy and after an inter-institutional deadlock has been resolved between the European Parliament and the Council in April this year. It will now be further discussed with the European Parliament and Council.

Long term thinking: implementing the Common Fisheries Policy

The plan incorporates the new elements of the CFP ranging from the implementation of the landing obligation to regional cooperation amongst Member States.

An obligation to land all catches of cod, herring, sprat and plaice coming from the cod, herring and sprat fishery in the Baltic Sea is included except in circumstances where there is evidence of high survival rates.

Member States together with Advisory Councils will now contribute significantly more to the fisheries management process. The plan establishes regional cooperation for the adoption of technical measures, provisions for the landing obligation and specific conservation measures for the by-catches in the fisheries for the stocks concerned


The proposal tabled today is the first multiannual plan adopted in accordance with the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that came into force in January 2014. Under the reformed CFP, multiannual plans should include the target, and deadline for completion, of fishing at sustainable levels (maximum sustainable yield). They should also contain measures for the implementation of the landing obligation, technical measures, as well as safeguards for remedial action where needed.

This plan will replace the management plan in place for the two Baltic cod stocks and includes the management of herring and sprat.

The Commission's proposal follows scientific advice from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF) and from International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).

The Baltic Sea Advisory Council (BSAC) has been consulted on this proposal. With the adoption of Regulation EU No 1380/2013 and the publication of the Final Report of the Task force in April 2014 on multiannual plans established by the European Parliament and Council, further consultations were conducted with the stakeholders in BSAC and with Member States administrations' in BALTFISH during March – June 2014.

For further information

Multi-annual fisheries plans:

Press Release, 3 September 2014: Baltic Sea: Commission confirms sustainability of herring stocks and proposes increased fishing opportunities for 2015 (IP/14/959)

Contacts :

Helene Banner (+32 2 295 24 07)

Lone Mikkelsen (+32 2 296 05 67)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

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