Mediterranean and Black Seas: Commission proposes fishing opportunities for 2022

Today, the Commission 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).

Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, 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. Furthermore, the proposal also incorporates various management measures for eel, red coral, dolphinfish, blackspot seabream, and deep-water shrimp stocks in the Ionian and Levant Seas and the Strait of Sicily, in line with GFCM decisions.

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. This part of the proposal will be complemented once the relevant scientific advice this year becomes available. The ultimate objective is to reach the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) – the maximum amount of fish that fishers can take out of the sea without compromising the regeneration and future productivity of the stock – by 1 January 2025 at the latest.

In the Black Sea, the proposal includes catch limits and quotas for turbot and sprat. For turbot, the proposal transposes the EU quota decided in the revision of the GFCM turbot multiannual management plan. For sprat, the Commission proposes to maintain the same catch limit as in 2021.

Next steps

The Council of Fisheries Ministers of the European Union will discuss the Commission’s proposal in December and establish the allocation of fishing opportunities. The regulation should apply as of 1 January 2022. 

Background

The Commission promotes an enhanced multilateral approach and cooperation to fisheries management in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. The Malta MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declarations established a new governance framework, which was strengthened by the adoption of the new 2030 GFCM Strategy on 9 July 2021.  

The multiannual management plan for demersal stocks in the Western Mediterranean adopted in June 2019, introduced a fishing effort regime for trawlers intended to achieve an overall reduction of up to 40% in five years. In 2020, the first year of its implementation, a 10% reduction was introduced, while the 2021 fishing opportunities proposal resulted in the reduction of a further 7.5%.

GFCM is a regional fisheries management organisation competent for the conservation and management of fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. The GFCM Adriatic plan has reduced demersal fishing effort by 16% in the first two years of implementation. It is set to reach MSY for the key demersal stocks by 2026 by limiting the annual fishing effort on the basis of scientific advice.

In 2017, the GFCM adopted a multiannual management plan for turbot in the Black Sea, the first management and control measures to be implemented at regional level.

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