Following intense negotiations, the 28 [EU] member states and the European Commission have reached an agreement on fishing opportunities in 2014.
In line with France’s steadfast position, the agreement respects the sustainability of fish stocks and the principle of relative stability and helps maintain the industry’s socio-economic balance.
The negotiations involved debates on the gradual achievement of maximum sustainable yield, the goal of the new Common Fisheries Policy.
In this context, and with a view to giving fishermen stable prospects, Frédéric Cuvillier secured an extension of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) in line with trends shown by scientific work, particularly with regard to ling and stocks in the Bay of Biscay (lobster, whiting, pollack, plaice and megrim), stocks important for the Atlantic coast. Increases are also envisaged for hake and anglerfish. A balanced approach on skate stocks was upheld and secured, with lesser reductions or an extension of the TAC when the scientific advice allowed it. The studies carried out by fishermen and scientists also enabled undulate ray to be removed from the list of banned species, thus raising the prospect of management measures in 2015.
On Bay of Biscay sole and eastern Channel sole, the drastic reductions initially proposed by the Commission were limited to -7% and -18% respectively. On Celtic Sea haddock, the extremely large reduction proposed by the Commission was also very greatly limited. For Bay of Biscay sole, the result was achieved thanks to the management efforts developed by professionals. France will continue its discussions with the European Commission on these stocks from the beginning of 2014 onwards, so that these efforts and the scientific advice enable this result to be further improved.
Prospects for an increase in EU mackerel catches were approved in the context of tough future negotiations with third countries (Iceland and the Faroe Islands), in order to protect the EU’s interests. For certain North Sea stocks shared with Norway, negotiations with that country on the level of the TAC will continue at the beginning of 2014.
Quota exchanges were also negotiated between member states, enabling our fisheries to be given stable prospects even before the beginning of 2014.
For Frédéric Cuvillier, “it’s important to send a strong signal of encouragement to the sector, to meet the challenges of Common Fisheries Policy reform. We must offer it prospects for full involvement in regional management plans, and continue our efforts in a scientifically-recognized context of improving stocks”./.