Following a last so-called ‘trilogue’ meeting held on 27 November, the European Parliament and the Council have reached an agreement on the Commission's proposal from March 2018 on a multi-annual plan for fisheries in the Western waters.
The agreed text has several positive aspects and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) and the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) are pleased that some important demands of the recreational fisheries sector have been taken into account.
The agreed text includes sea bass among the Plan’s target species.
Thanks to Rapporteur MEP Alain Cadec and other supportive MEPs the Western Waters Management Plan will cover sea bass not only in the Western Waters and the North Sea but all the way down to Gibraltar. EAA and EFTTA hope this move also will lead to an increase later of the Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS), from the present 38 cm for the commercial fishers in south to 42 cm as is the rule in north. EAA and the EFTTA have requested this to happen for a long time. Bass grow faster in southern, warmer waters but the spawning size is the same, north and south. It is also ridiculous that anglers in south are obliged to fish a minimum landing size 42 cm while the commercial fishers legally can fish 38 cm bass.
However, the EAA and the EFTTA are dismayed that the co-legislators could not reach an agreement on the Parliament’s proposed sea bass fishing closures during the spawning season.
Overall, the EAA and the EFTTA welcome the agreement and look forward to the forthcoming adoption of the text both in the Council and in the Parliament. The Plan is thought to take effect from 2020. If the text is adopted as it reads now (which we expect it to be), the Commission will be empowered to adopt delegated acts with regard to the fixing of minimum conservation reference sizes (Article 9;d), “..to ensure the protection of juveniles of marine organisms”. We will continue to push that an MCRS 42 cm shall apply to all fishers, in all waters covered by this Plan.
● Commission press release 28 November: “Agreement on Commission proposal for a multi-annual fisheries management plan for the Western Waters”
● Rapporteur Alain Cadec news release 28 November: «Nous avons trouvé un accord sur le Plan de gestion pluriannuel pour l’Atlantique et pour la Manche»
● Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing a multiannual plan for fish stocks in the Western Waters and adjacent waters, and for fisheries exploiting those stocks, Brussels, 23.3.2018 - COM(2018) 149 final – corrigendum version 18 April COM(2018) 149 final/2
● EAA news 11 April 2018: “The European Commission presents its multi-annual fisheries plan for the Western Waters”