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.
Moreover, some management measures will be the same for the whole stock at the north and at the south of the 48th parallel, e.g. the increase of the Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS), from 38cm for the commercial fishers in south to 42cm as it is in north, which as the EAA and the EFTTA have requested for a long time.
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, but we do hope that some elements will be put into force already next year e.g. the MCRS increase from 38 to 42cm. That could possibly be agreed at the Council Fisheries meeting 17-18 December if the Council and the Commission really wanted to, but as it is not a provision mentioned in the Commission’s fishing opportunities 2019 proposal it probably won’t be discussed this time around.
● 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”