The ten Member States of the European Union that declared having exceeded their fishing quotas in 2013 will face reduced fishing quotas for those stocks in 2014. The European Commission announces these deductions on a yearly basis to immediately address the damage done to the stocks overfished in the previous year and ensure sustainable use by Member States of common fishery resources. Compared to last year, the number of deductions made went down by 22%.
Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “If we want to be serious in our fight against overfishing, we need to apply our rules by the book – and this includes the respect of quotas. I am glad to see that we did a better job in 2013 than in previous years when it came to staying within quotas. That said, to achieve healthy fish stocks across Europe we also need efficient controls to enforce the rules in place.”
Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and United Kingdom and 45 fish stocks are affected by this year’s quota deduction. Any quota deductions apply to the same stocks that were overfished in the previous year, with extra deductions made for consecutive overfishing, overfishing above 5%, or if the stock concerned is subject to a multi annual plan.
However, should a Member State have no fishing quota available to “pay back” their overfishing, the quantities will be deducted from an alternative stock in the same geographical area, taking into account the need to avoid discards in mixed fisheries.
Deductions on alternative stocks are decided in consultation with the Member States concerned and will be published in a separate Regulation later this year. On the other hand, if the quota available is not sufficient to fully operate the said deductions, the remaining quantities are carried over to the following year.
The legal basis for deductions is Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009. It mandates the Commission to operate deductions from future quotas of the Member States that have overfished. Certain multiplying factors apply as set out in Article 105(2) and (3) of the Regulation with a view to ensure the sustainability of the stocks.