The European Commission yesterday adopted a proposal for fishing opportunities for the Black Sea for 2010. The Commission proposes a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 76 tonnes for turbot, a 25 per cent reduction compared to 2009, and a TAC of 12,750 tonnes for sprat, unchanged from 2009. These proposals are based on advice from two working groups of leading fisheries scientists from the Black Sea Region, and from the Commission’s own Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF) which has reviewed the working groups’ reports.
Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Joe Borg said: “Fisheries management in the Black Sea waters which belong to the European Union, has to be rational and science-based, following the same principles as anywhere else in the EU. This is what guides the Commission’s proposals for the next fishing year. While we have been able to maintain the total catch limit for sprat, we had to propose a reduction for turbot since scientists have recently warned us of the poor situation of this stock. In the mid-term, we want to introduce management plans for critical fish stocks, as we do in other regions. This will help us to manage the fisheries better, as full account will be taken of conservation needs while ensuring more transparency and predictability for the industry.”
The proposal aims towards long-term sustainable exploitation of fish stocks in the Black Sea and can be seen as a continuation of the measures applicable for 2008 and 2009. Through the measures proposed, the Commission seeks to rebuild depleted stocks and to ensure sustainable fisheries in the long term, in line with the criteria laid down in the Commission’s Consultation Paper on Fishing Opportunities for 2010, which was published in May.
The TAC of 12,750 tonnes for sprat won’t be allocated per quotas, while the TAC of 76 tonnes for turbot would be equally divided between Bulgaria and Romania. The proposal also sets out technical measures to assist in the recovery of the turbot fishery. The minimum mesh size permitted in this fishery has now been set at 400 mm and the phasing-out period that allowed the use of smaller nets to give the fleet time to adjust has now expired. The fishing season for turbot shall be closed from 15 April to 15 June, and the minimum landing size for turbot remains unchanged at 45 cm.
In order to reduce discards, the practice of high-grading (i.e. discarding fish in view of a higher size/price catch) for any species subjected to quota shall be banned.
The Commission also promotes bilateral cooperation in fisheries management with third countries bordering the Black Sea, as well as through the appropriate Regional Fisheries Organisation, namely the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, which also covers the Black Sea.