Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 27-28 June 2016 (Luxemburg)

Fishing opportunities for 2017 – Policy statement

Ministers will hold an exchange of views on the Commission’s communication on EU fisheries tabled earlier this month in view of the end-of-year decision on fishing opportunities for 2017.

Many EU sea basins are showing encouraging signs. In the last decade the EU has been reducing fishing pressure and stocks are generally in better shape now than they were ten years ago. The Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea are progressing well in the direction of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) – meaning that fish stocks are fished at an optimal level allowing them to regenerate, and the multiannual plans and the landing obligation are now going to help this process even further. All the more reason to set fishing limits for 2017 with a view to achieving MSY already in the same year. For stocks where there is no MSY indicator, the limits proposed will be in line with the scientific advice provided by ICES. For data-poor stocks without quantitative advice, the precautionary approach will be applied.

External fishing fleets – Proposal for a new Regulation

The Council will be seeking a general approach on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets, (repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008). This proposal by the Commission aims at setting new governance standards in the management and control of external fleets.

Mediterranean fisheries and 2016 GFCM Annual Session

Commissioner Vella will report to ministers on the outcome of the 40th annual session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, and on his initiative on sustainable Mediterranean fisheries. This year’s GFCM meeting adopted a number of ambitious measures to support the recovery of fish stocks and the protection of vulnerable habitats in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The Commissioner will also recall his initiative to bring the Mediterranean onto a path of sustainability by creating a new political momentum and engaging with key stakeholders around the Mediterranean. He will engage with ministers to keep up the pace, as the priority now is to take concrete action so that this sea basin can continue to ensure the livelihood and prosperity of its coastal communities.