On June 2nd, the European Commission published its annual communication on the fishing opportunities. The document includes an assessment of the state of the health of fish populations in the European Union, as well as their ability to recover from fishing. The document lays out how the Commission will propose fishing opportunities for 2016, and launch a phase of public consultation which will be open until the 1st October 2015.
As part of the Ending Overfishing Campaign in Northwestern Europe, ENT has presented and submitted its opinion on the Communication (available here). In this contribution, ENT appreciates the efforts made by the Commission, and, amongst other issues of relevance, points out that in the past two years progress towards ending overfishing has slowed down, showing even a reverse in terms of averages. For these reasons it is necessary that, during the establishment of the fishing opportunities for 2016, the population of all fish stocks are restored and maintained above biomass levels capable of producing the maximum sustainable yield (MSY), without exceptions. In this way, the European Commission would be showing its willingness to fully implement the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
This communication from the European Commission, and therefore public consultation, is just the beginning of the process for setting the 2016 fishing limits. Throughout this year, the Commission will propose specific fishing limits for each population. State members will deliberate these before ministers meet in the European Council to set the final catch limits. As a part of the Ending Overfishing Campaign in Northwestern Europe, ENT will follow these negotiations to ensure the compliance and implementation of the CFP from the Spanish ministry.