The Commission has published its Communication “Towards more sustainable fishing in the EU: state of play and orientations for 2023” giving an annual review of EU’s fisheries management and outlining priorities ahead for 2023.
The figures, as assessed by independent scientific agencies, show that conservation efforts are further bearing fruit and the EU fisheries policy has been delivering in reducing overfishing in European waters. At the same time, further efforts are still needed to protect marine resources, both through maintaining high levels of ambition within the EU and by striving to achieve the same high standard in the work with non-EU countries, like Norway, UK and the Coastal States.
The stocks in northeast Atlantic areas are, on average, within levels that deliver the highest sustainable yields into the future (called ‘maximum sustainable yield’, or MSY). For the Mediterranean, the situation has further improved but there is still a long way to go. In the Baltic Sea, due to eutrophication, low oxygen levels in the water are hindering the normal growth and reproduction of fish and protective measures have been put in place.
Setting priorities for 2023
In this Communication, the Commission set out its agenda for the next year:
• Better management of fisheries in the Mediterranean basin, building on achievements in the Western Mediterranean and in the Adriatic Sea;
• Proper implementation of the landing obligation;
• Better data from surveys to improve the science advice and economic analyses;
• More actions to protect the marine ecosystems.
In the Mediterranean Sea, where the intensity of fishing is overshooting sustainable levels by nearly 100%, more reductions are needed. Strong efforts will be aimed at further implementing the Western Mediterranean multiannual plan and measures adopted by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. Improved conservation measures for the Adriatic Sea, in order to reduce the intensity of fishing and increase long-term yields, will feature prominently in the 2023 fishing opportunities.
In line with the priorities set for 2023, Member States will need to step up the enforcement and control of compliance with the landing obligation and eliminate discards by avoiding unwanted catches. In particular, they should use suitable modern control tools, such as remote electronic monitoring systems, which are the most effective and cost-efficient means to control the landing obligation at sea. The Commission will continue to work with the European Parliament and Council to reach an agreement on the revised fisheries control system, which can facilitate the use of these tools.
The Commission will also continue to work towards achieving sustainability targets in all areas, including in partnership with neighbouring states and cooperation in international fisheries management organisations, and will soon publish an action plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems.
More information: European Commission – Press release