Less pollock, more herring: new catch quotas for the North Sea and Atlantic economy

Herring would only stay at home in the Baltic Sea, but it is not. Much to the chagrin of German fishermen in the Baltic Sea. Because the western Baltic herring is in danger of extinction, fishermen off the German Baltic shores can do so. no longer signed up Fish for its old fish with butter and bread.

That was decided by the EU agriculture ministers last October. This was a severe blow to the fishermen of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, because at the same time they were also banned from selective fishing for cod. These animals can only remain in the nets as bycatch of sprat, sole or flounder.

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The problem: Baltic herring does not stay in the east, but migrates west to eat. In Kattegat, which is located between Denmark and Sweden, and in the northern Skagerrak between Norway, Denmark and Sweden, the Baltic herring mixes with the North Sea herring (which occurs frequently) and ends up in the nets of the fishermen of the North Sea, much to the chagrin of our companions from the East.

A big problem that the new Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Cem Özdemir (Greens) had to settle in his first international appearance in the new office.

His first international mission: Cem Özdemir negotiated for the fishermen as Germany’s Minister of Agriculture.Photo: imago images / Arnulf Hettrich

Traditionally, negotiating catch quotas has been difficult. EU ministers met on Monday and negotiated on Tuesday night. The EU states set the total catches for certain waters each year.

The template is provided by the EU commission, which is based on scientific recommendations. This is to prevent certain species from being overfished and therefore threatened with extinction. Quotas are then set for individual countries based on the total amount.

Germans may catch less plaice and chickadee

For Germany, this means: German fishermen will be able to catch less plaice (minus 10 percent) and saithe (minus 25 percent) in the North Sea next year, the German Greenland redfish quota will be reduced by one one third and nine percent less mackerel. you will be allowed to fish in the Northeast Atlantic. On the other hand, the herring is stuffed.

Here, German catches in the North Sea are allowed to increase by 22 percent to 41,155 tonnes from January next year. But: In Skagerrak and Kattegat, the actual herring catches are being drastically reduced to protect the Baltic herring.

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“Germany put a lot of pressure on herring,” praised Valeska Diemel, a fisheries expert at the Federation for Conservation of the Environment and Nature (BUND). She would have liked similar success with cod, but that did not happen.

The amount of catch recommended by scientists will be exceeded by 11.5 percent across the EU by 2022 – “that is a clear violation of the rules of the common fisheries policy”, the environmentalist is upset. For German fishermen, the cod catch quota has been slightly reduced by two percent.

Protests: Climate activists from the Ocean Rebellion organization demonstrate in front of the European Commission against overfishing …Photo: dpa / Nicolas Maeterlinck

“Even if we would have liked a somewhat ambitious recovery process for cod, it is generally a balanced compromise,” Özdemir said on Tuesday. The restrictions in Skagerrak and Kattegat are “an important signal for our fisheries in the Baltic Sea.”

Conflicts with Great Britain have yet to be resolved

Even if EU ministers have already agreed on fishing quotas for the North Sea and the Atlantic, a hot topic remains unresolved: a deal with Britain for stocks to be used jointly with the EU.

The deadline for this is December 20, but the situation is difficult. A veritable fisheries war has developed between France and Great Britain. If there is no agreement, there is a transitional arrangement, but this only applies to the first three months of the following year.

In Diemel’s opinion, those who value sustainable consumption should not serve sea fish on holidays, but local freshwater fish: carp, if possible from the region and organic. Then its ecological balance is unbeatable.

Vince Fernandez

"Professional food trailblazer. Devoted communicator. Friendly writer. Avid problem solver. Tv aficionado. Lifelong social media fanatic."

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