No fishing stop in the Baltic Sea
Targeted fishing for herring and sturgeon can also continue in 2024.
The EU countries have agreed on significantly larger catch quotas than what the European Commission wanted to see.
After overnight negotiations in Luxembourg, the member states’ fisheries ministers were able to give the go-ahead on Tuesday morning for a settlement that means reduced fishing compared to 2023 – but not at all to the extent that the EU leadership proposed.
-As usual in compromises, no one is 100 percent satisfied, but as far as Sweden is concerned, I must admit that we are close to the Swedish position. We must have low fishing opportunities but enable the small-scale fishing that is for human consumption. And we have succeeded in that, says Rural Affairs Minister Peter Kullgren (KD) to TT and SR Ekot.
The quotas remain
For herring and sturgeon, the European Commission wanted to remove all directed fishing during the next year and only allow the fish to be taken as bycatch, in other fishing.
Now, however, the quotas will remain – albeit less than this year.
For the Gulf of Bothnia and the Bothnian Sea, this means, for example, a quota of 55,000 tonnes in 2024, compared to 80,000 this year. In the central Baltic Sea, the quota of 40,368 tonnes is landed, compared to just over 70,000 tonnes in 2023.
-We stay within the scientific advice that ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) gives us. That has been the starting point, says Kullgren.
Ban on trawling
Sweden and Finland pushed hard for targeted herring and sturgeon quotas, but on the other hand had to give in regarding the continued halt to salmon fishing in the Baltic Sea, apart from the Gulf of Bothnia. On the other hand, a ban on trawling is introduced during the herring spawning period – a measure to reduce the amount of herring and flounder caught in the sprat fishery, which is often used as animal feed.
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-Anyone who has compromised knows that there is always something that rubs off. But this is how you set fishing quotas in Europe. If each country did this by itself, we would not have a good situation for our fish stocks, says the Minister of Rural Affairs in Luxembourg.
Here are the EU countries’ decisions on catch quotas for fishing in the Baltic Sea in 2024 (comparison in percentage with 2023 in brackets):
Herring in the Bothnian Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia: 55,000 tonnes (-31)
Western Baltic herring: 788 tonnes, by-catch only (unchanged)
Central Baltic herring: 40,368 tonnes (-43)
Herring in the Gulf of Riga: 37,959 tonnes (-17)
Eastern Baltic cod: 595 tonnes, by-catch only (unchanged)
Cod in the western Baltic Sea: 340 tonnes, only as by-catch (-30)
Plaice: 11,313 tonnes (unchanged)
Herring: 201,000 tonnes (-10)
Salmon in the Baltic Sea proper: 53,967 (-15)
Salmon in the Gulf of Finland: 10,144 (+7)
Source: EU Council of Ministers.