Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of December 2010
The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will meet in Brussels on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 December, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to EC.
It will be chaired for the Agriculture issues by Mrs Sabine Laruelle, Belgian minister for SMEs, the Self-Employment, Agriculture and Science Policy, and , for the points on Fisheries, by Mr Kris Peeters, Minister-President for the Flemish Region and responsible for Fisheries. Commissioners Maria Damanaki and Dacian Cioloş will represent the Commission at the meeting.
The Council will start with a presentation of the fisheries items on Monday morning. It will be followed by the presentation and a debate on the "dairy package". Over lunch, ministers will have a discussion on "Targeting CAP support to active farmers". After lunch, ministers will deal with the other agriculture items. They will return to the fisheries items afterwards and on Tuesday.
The points on the agenda are:
Atlantic and North Sea TACs and quotas - political agreement
The Council will aim to reach political agreement on total allowable catches (TACs) and fishing effort limits for the Atlantic, the North Sea and international waters regulated by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. The Commission's proposal published in early November proposes TACs that take account of advice received from stakeholders, but which are above all in line with scientific advice.
According to the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee (STECF), only 40% of the stocks concerned are currently being fished sustainably. The EU is committed to achieving Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) for all stocks by 2015. The Commission is therefore proposing quota increases for 6 stocks, quota decreases for 64 stocks and an unchanged quota for 23 stocks. The Commission is also concerned by the failure of the long-term management plans to deliver sustainable catches of cod, in particular in the Kattegat, the Irish Sea and the west of Scotland. Faced with the continued decline of these stocks, the Commission has proposed a 50% reduction in TAC for 2011 in these areas, to be accompanied by an in-depth review of the existing management arrangements.
Black Sea TACs - political agreement
The Council will aim to reach political agreement on the TACs and associated measures for the two fish stocks in the Black Sea targeted by EU fleets, turbot and sprat. Scientific advice for turbot indicates that the stock remains in poor condition, and the Commission has proposed a reduction in TAC of 25% for that reason. The proposed TAC for sprat is based on a hypothetical TAC for the whole of the Black Sea as advised by STECF, there being currently no agreed method for allocating quotas to the different parties concerned. The Commission believes that bringing EU fishing levels in the Black Sea into line with both scientific advice and the shared character of the sea basin is essential if the EU is to convince its international partners of the need to develop an effective regional approach to managing fisheries in the Black Sea.