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2019-11-13

Fisheries Brief no. 21: Good decisions – but the fish in the Baltic Sea require a long-term solution

The decisions made by EU fisheries ministers at their meeting in mid-October were generally good ones as far as the Baltic cod is concerned. However, there are some short-term issues still to resolve, and there is a great need for a new doctrine in the longer term.

2019-10-15

Agreement on TACs for next year's fishing in the Baltic Sea

the last cod photo by peter ostlundLast night, the Council of Ministers agreed on next year's TACs (total allowable catches) in the Baltic Sea. Important steps have been taken for the cod as all directed fishing for cod is banned in the eastern Baltic Sea and only a smaller by-catch is allowed, with the purpose to help small-scale fisheries survive the difficult stock situation. All in all, the decision is a success for the Commission, the Swedish position and the Finnish Presidency. 

2019-10-10

Fisheries Brief no. 20: Crucial decisions in the short and long term

There will be a great deal at stake when Sweden’s Minister for Rural Affairs Jennie Nilsson joins the EU’s other fisheries ministers on 14-15 October at meetings to decide next year’s fishing quotas. Ahead of these, the Riksdag’s Environment and Agriculture Committee and the Committee on European Union Affairs will set out their instructions for Sweden’s negotiating position on 10-11 October. These next few days will therefore be crucial, both in the short term and long term.

2019-09-24

Fisheries Brief no. 19: Recovery takes time

In mid-October, EU fisheries ministers will make a decision on next year’s cod fishing in the Baltic Sea. Scientific advice published by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) states that the quota will have to be zero for a number of years. The EU Commission has this year already introduced an emergency ban on all cod fishing and has called for next year’s quota to be zero for all targeted cod fishing. A very heavy responsibility now rests on the shoulders of the region’s politicians – they have to resist special interests who want to continue fishing, while at the same time ensuring that the proposal for a fishing ban for 2020 is followed by long-term measures.

2019-09-11

Fisheries Brief no. 18: The Commission proposes a zero quota

The Commission is proposing a ban for 2020 on all targeted cod fishing in the eastern stock, with a sharp reduction in the quota for the western stock also proposed. The Council of Ministers will make the final quota decision in mid-October. The Council of Ministers is often opposed to the Commission’s proposals and allocates larger quotas than those set out in scientific recommendations.

2019-08-26

Fisheries Brief no. 17: Prioritise the environment over a handful of jobs

Stick to the plan to save the Baltic cod
At the end of July, the Commission, prompted by the Baltic cod crisis, introduced an immediate ban on fishing for the rest of the year. Earlier this year the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) recommended that no cod fishing involving the eastern stock should be permitted during 2020. Responsibility now rests entirely with the region’s fisheries ministers, who in October will make a decision on cod fishing in the Baltic Sea in 2020. Will they listen to the scientific advice from the ICES, which says that it will take years of fishing bans before we stand any chance of seeing an improvement in the stock? Or will they bow to pressure from short-term special interests?

2019-06-27

Fisheries Brief no. 16: Navigating the hidden perils of the fisheries policy

June has been an eventful month for both the fisheries policy and the Baltic cod. Since the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) published its recommendation for next year’s fishing quotas for Baltic cod, there has been a flurry of activity among politicians and other officials. An evaluation of the multiannual management plans (MAPs) is ongoing in parallel with this, and the Commission has approved a communication on fishing opportunities for 2020, which also covers Baltic cod.

2019-06-12

Fisheries Brief no. 15: Good job government! Now the real work begins

The situation facing the Baltic cod is so severe that this could be our last chance to ensure that the stock recovers; otherwise it will be destroyed (see Fisheries Brief no. 12).On 29 May, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) presented its recommendation for next year’s fishing quotas for Baltic cod. The proposed quota for the eastern stock is zero (0), while for the western stock a range between 5305 and 7245 tonnes, including recreational fishing, has been proposed. On 3 June, the Swedish government announced that it will work to introduce an emergency ban from 1 July this year. The government also supports ICES’s recommendation of a ban on cod fishing in 2020.

2019-06-10

The government wants to see emergency measures for Baltic cod

On the 3rd of June, representatives from the EU’s Baltic countries attended a meeting of the Baltic Sea Fisheries Forum (BALTFISH) in order to discuss the situation facing the cod. Following last week’s publication of scientific advice on next year’s fishing in the Baltic Sea by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), it was clear that the situation facing cod in the eastern Baltic stock is now so critical that a zero catch is proposed (read more about the advice here).

2019-05-29

Comment on ICES advice on cod quota in the Baltic Sea

Today the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) proposes that the fishing quota for eastern Baltic cod should be set to zero next year. The cod stock has deteriorated for a long time and is now considered to be so close to the limit that it is unclear if recovery even is possible. ICES notes that the only thing that can be done is to stop all fishing for cod in the Baltic Sea.

2019-05-17

Fisheries Brief no. 14: The system that fools itself

The situation facing the Baltic cod is so severe that this could be our last chance to ensure that the stock recovers; otherwise it will be destroyed (see Fisheries Brief no. 12).

2019-05-02

Fisheries Brief no. 13: List of measures for the Swedish Minister for Rural Affairs

Jennie Nilsson, the Minister for Rural Affairs, and Isabella Lövin, the Minister for Environment, recently wrote an opinion editorial for Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) about the crisis facing Baltic cod. It is good that the Baltic cod is now on the agenda of both ministers. Although a number of factors have contributed to the crisis, we believe that it is a case of keeping the focus on an aspect that can be influenced in the short term – the fisheries policy.

2019-04-15

Environmental organizations ask Fisheries Ministers to introduce emergency measures for the Baltic cod

Last week, a letter was sent to the Fisheries Ministers of EU around the Baltic Sea. In the letter, several environmental organizations, including BalticSea2020, ask the ministers to introduce emergency measures to try to save the eastern Baltic cod.

2019-04-02

Fisheries Brief no. 12: Continued cod fishing is harmful

The catastrophic development of the Baltic cod continues with no sign of intervention on the part of authorities or politicians.

2019-03-13

BalticSea2020 supports yet another scientific project to better understand the critical situation of Baltic cod

Since it was founded, BalticSea2020 has focused on projects that aim to strengthen predatory fish stocks in the Baltic Sea. The cod is a top predator and plays an important part in the Baltic Sea ecosystem. However, since the 1990s cod from stocks in the eastern Baltic Sea have gradually been getting smaller and thinner.

2019-03-04

Did you miss the seminary The Expansion of Low Oxygen Zones in the Global Ocean and Coastal Waters?

On February 21, several prominent international professors participated in the full-day symposium The Expansion of Low Oxygen Zones in the Global Ocean and Coastal Waters in Stockholm. The symposium addressed the impact of changes in productivity, biodiversity, and biogeochemical cycles with declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters.

2019-02-25

The oxygen conditions in the Baltic Sea main basin is still poor

At the end of January to the beginning of February this year, a research expedition was conducted in the Baltic Sea to investigate phosphorus concentrations and oxygen levels.

2019-02-15

Fisheries Brief no. 11: Crucial year for Baltic cod

Swedish politicians must get involved in the process far earlier than a few days before the Council of Ministers in October. They must make it clear to officials what the priorities are. Our minister for fisheries must talk to colleagues from around the Baltic Sea to find political solutions.

2019-02-13

New article: Pike wetlands – do they have any importance for the Baltic Sea coastal area?

Pike is one of Sweden’s most common predatory fish with an important role to play in the coastal ecosystem. Unfortunately, pike stocks in the Baltic Sea have declined in recent decades. Can pike wetlands, or ‘pike factories’, help strengthen the pike stock along the Baltic Sea coast?

2019-02-13

The county administrative boards will receive more than SEK 400 million for local water conservation

Today, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) announced that the Swedish county administrative boards will receive over SEK 400 million this year for local water conservation work to reduced eutrophication.