The debate rages on

19 January, 2024

Deep Sea’s attention-grabbing film “The Power of the Sea” has set the debate about large-scale fishing in the Baltic Sea in high gear. In the days after Sunday’s premiere on SVT, politicians, researchers, and environmental organizations have condemned the EU Council of Ministers and Sweden’s Minister of Fisheries. The debaters claim that the ministers’ decision, which is against the EU’s fisheries law, threatens the herring in the Baltic Sea.

The organization Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB) demands that the Council of Ministers’ decision be reconsidered by the Council’s lawyers. The CCB states that the ministers’ decision is contrary to the management plan for the Baltic Sea, the EU’s fisheries policy, and the marine environment directive.

The Swedish Nature Conservation Society (Naturskyddsföreningen) is part of CCB:

– The flounder and herring fishing in the Baltic Sea must be stopped immediately. The fishing is a threat to the entire ecosystem of the Baltic Sea, says Beatrice Rindevall, chairman of the Nature Conservation Association.​

– There is no fishing without fish, and it is incomprehensible how politicians deliberately allow overfishing. The cod collapse has clearly taught us nothing. Now we hope that the fishing is stopped, that the Baltic herring recovers and that the authorities take the warning signals seriously in the future. The Nature Conservation Society is also appealing the Maritime and Water Authority’s decision on quotas for large-scale fishing to the administrative court.

Minister for Rural Affairs Peter Kullgren (KD), who is responsible for fisheries issues in the government, is reported to the Parliament’s constitution committee by the Social Democrats. The basis of the report is that Kullgren cast his vote in a vote on the EU’s fisheries policy without notifying the Parliament’s EU Committee. The vote was about removing a lower limit for the size of the sturgeon stock, at which point fishing must be stopped.

I want KU to review whether the Minister of Rural Affairs did not exceed his powers when he indirectly gave the green light to a proposal that contributes to overfishing. It could be the nail in the coffin for currents in the Baltic Sea,” writes the EU committee’s vice-chair Matilda Ernkrans (S).

The debate also rages in local newspapers along the entire Baltic Sea coast. In Norrtelje newspaper, nature lovers, anglers and ornithologists have signed a debate article with the headline “Politicians let our Baltic herring die out.

Text: Peter Löfgren
Photo: Simon Stanford

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