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Mediterranean and Black Seas: Commission proposes fishing opportunities for 2022

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The Commission has adopted a proposal for fishing opportunities for 2022 in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. The proposal promotes the sustainable management of fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas and delivers on the political commitments made in the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declarations. It reflects the Commission's ambition for achieving sustainable fisheries in these two sea basins, in line with the recently adopted 2030 Strategy of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM).

Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Sustainable fisheries management in all of the EU's sea basins is our commitment and responsibility. While we have seen some improvement in recent years in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, we are still far from reaching sustainable levels and more effort is needed to achieve this goal. We are, therefore, today making our proposal for fish catches in the two sea basins fully reliant on scientific advice.”

In the Adriatic Sea, the Commission's proposal implements the GFCM Mediterranean multiannual management plan for demersal stocks and its goal to reach sustainability for these stocks by 2026 through a decrease of the fishing effort. Today's proposal also implements the Western Mediterranean multiannual management plan (MAP) for demersal stocks with the aim of further reducing the fishing, in line with scientific advice. In the Black Sea, the proposal includes catch limits and quotas for turbot and sprat. The proposal will be completed at a later stage, based on the results of the GFCM annual session (2-6 November 2021) and the availability of scientific advice. More information is in the press release.

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Fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2022: Improving long-term sustainability of stocks

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The European Commission has adopted its proposal for fishing opportunities for 2022 for the Baltic Sea. Based on this proposal, EU countries will determine how much fish can be caught in the sea basin, for what concerns the most important commercial species. The Commission proposes to increase fishing opportunities for herring in the Gulf of Riga, whilst maintaining the current levels for sprat, plaice and by-catches of eastern cod. The Commission proposes to decrease fishing opportunities for the remaining stocks covered by the proposal, in order to improve the sustainability of those stocks and to help other stocks such as cod and herring recovering.

Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “The poor environmental status of the Baltic Sea is heavily affecting our local fishermen and women, who rely on healthy fish stocks for their livelihoods. This is why the Commission is doing its utmost to restore those stocks, and today's proposal is a reflection of that ambition. However, the state of the Baltic Sea is not only related to fishing, so everyone must do their part to build the long-term sustainability of this precious sea basin."

The proposed total allowable catches (TACs) are based on the best available peer-reviewed scientific advice from the International Council on the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and follow the Baltic multiannual management plan. More information and precise figures are in the press release and Q&A.

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European Commission

Fisheries: EU and Cook Islands agree to continue their sustainable fisheries partnership

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The European Union and the Cook Islands have agreed to continue their successful fisheries partnership as part of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement, for a duration of three years. The agreement allows EU fishing vessels operating in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean to continue fishing in the Cook Islands fishing grounds. Environment, Oceans and Fisheries CommissionerVirginijus Sinkevičius said: “With the renewal of this Fisheries Protocol, European Union vessels will be able to continue fishing one of the healthiest tropical tuna stocks. We are particularly proud to contribute, through our sectoral support, to the development of the Cook Islands' fisheries sector - a Small Island Developing State that has been often praised for its effective and responsible fisheries management policies. This is how the EU's Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements work in practice.”

In the framework of the new Protocol, the EU and ship owners will contribute with a total up to approximately €4 million (NZD 6.8m) for the next three years, of which €1m (NZD 1.7m) to support the Cook Islands' initiatives within the sectoral fisheries and maritime policy. Overall, next to improvements in the fishing sector, the revenue obtained from this Agreement has previously allowed the Cook Islands' government to improve its social welfare system. More information is in the news item.

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European Commission

European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund to support sustainable oceans approved

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The Regulation establishing the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) under the EU's 2021-2027 long-term budget was adopted on 6 July by the European Parliament with an overwhelming majority. The adoption follows a political agreement reached with the Council at the end of 2020. With a total budget of €6,108 billion (2021-2027), the EMFAF will provide financial support to protect, manage and sustainably use the ocean and its resources contributing thus to the objectives of the European Green Deal. This is key to promoting biodiversity, the supply of healthy and sustainable seafood, including from aquaculture, the competitiveness of the blue economy and thriving coastal communities in the EU.

Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “I welcome this vote by the European Parliament. The new fund enters into force at an important juncture. The coming years will be crucial for our efforts to making EU fisheries still more sustainable, while securing the livelihoods of our fishermen and women. The EMFAF will also enable us to support the green recovery of Europe's blue economy and underpin EU's leading role in promoting sustainable ocean governance worldwide. I now call on member states to finalise their national programmes as a priority, so together we can continue delivering on our shared commitment to a healthier ocean.”

Member states are expected to finalize their programmes in the coming months, to ensure that the funds can be put to work as soon as possible. More information is in the news item.

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