Support for fishermen affected by the eastern Baltic cod closure [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Frederik Scholaert (1st edition),

© Hans Christiansson / Shutterstock

Eastern Baltic cod has long supported the livelihoods of many Baltic fishermen, but stocks of this valuable fish have been declining sharply in recent years. Every year since 2014, total allowable catches have been reduced accordingly. Recent scientific advice, published in May 2019, reinforced concerns regarding eastern Baltic cod, showing an even steeper decline and estimating the stock to be below safe biological limits for the past two years. Scientists point to high natural mortality resulting from various environmental pressures, including a lack of salinity, little oxygen, pollution, high water temperatures and parasite infestation. On 22 July 2019, as an emergency measure, the Commission imposed an immediate closure of the fishery for six months, with the exception of a limited amount arising from the unavoidable by-catch. Subsequently, fishing opportunities for 2020 were cut by 92 %. As recovery of the stock is not expected before 2024, on 31 October 2019 the Commission issued a proposal amending the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Regulation in order to allow support for permanent cessation and introducing parallel changes to the Baltic multiannual plan by setting capacity limits for the fishing segments concerned and by including additional control and data collection measures.




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