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Little increase in deep-sea fishing opportunities 2013-2014
The European Commission proposed today fishing opportunities for the
deep-sea fish stocks in EU and international waters of the North-East Atlantic
In line with the scientific advice, the Commission proposes to increase
total allowable catches (TACs) for 3 stocks, a decrease for 13 stocks, and
maintain TACs at the current level for 8 stocks (including zero TACs for 6
stocks), compared to 2012.
For 2013 the Commission proposes to increase by 77% the TAC for
roundnose grenadiers west of the British Isles (to 4,500 tonnes).
Fishing at these levels should permit to bring this stock to
sustainable levels by 2015 (so called maximum sustainable yield (MSY)).
The Commission also proposes to increase by 20% and 5% the TACs for two
black scabbard fish stocks in western waters (West of Scotland/Ireland).
Also for these stocks the scientific advice indicates how to achieve
MSY in 2015.
TACs for the remaining stocks of black scabbard fish and roundnose
grenadier are proposed to be cut or maintained unchanged.
Taking the precautionary approach, the Commission proposes to cut by
20% the red seabream and blue ling TACs, as the conservation status of these
stocks is not fully assessed.
European Commissioner Maria Damanaki, in charge of Maritime Affairs and
"to preserve the deep-sea fishery, we need to follow the scientific
advice, and not overexploit these vulnerable species.
Still, three of the stocks seem to be on the path towards recovery and
We have a clear management objective: a long-term sustainable use of
With only two exceptions, available data on the deep-sea stocks are
insufficient to allow scientists to fully assess the stock status, neither in
terms of number of fish nor fishing mortality.
Nevertheless, the scientific advice has improved, notably on the stocks
that offer the largest fishing opportunities.
Fishing for deep-sea species is regulated by the European Union since 2003 in
terms of total allowable catches (TACs) per species and area, and in terms of
maximum fishing effort deployable in the North-East Atlantic.
Deep-sea fish are caught in waters beyond the main fishing grounds of
continental shelves. They are distributed on the continental slopes or
associated with seamounts.
Most of these species are slow-growing and long-lived, which makes them
particularly vulnerable to fishing.
Deep sea fisheries account for about 1% of fish landed from the
North-East Atlantic, but some local fishing communities depend to a certain
extent on deep-sea fisheries.
The catches – and related jobs - have been declining for years, due to
The Commission's proposals are based on scientific advice from the
International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).
The Commission recently proposed a new management system for deep-sea
fisheries in order to ensure better protection of deep-sea stocks and their
habitats (see IP/12/813)