Commission proposes fishing opportunities for 2024 in the Baltic Sea

The Commission proposed [... on 28.8.2023] the total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas for three out of the ten stocks managed in the Baltic Sea. The remaining quota proposals will be established at a later stage. The Commission proposes to increase fishing opportunities for salmon in the Gulf of Finland by 7%, while proposing to decrease fishing of salmon in the main basin by 15%, and to decrease herring catches in the Gulf of Riga by 20%.

As for the other stocks in the Baltic (western cod, eastern cod, western herring, Bothnian herring, central herring, sprat and plaice), the Commission has requested additional information from the International Council on the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) to take better account of the fact that cod is caught together with flatfish, and herring together with sprat.

Scientists estimate that the size of the central Baltic herring stock has been around or below minimum levels since the early 1990s. The stock size of Bothnian herring fell below healthy levels due to the lower number of young fish and the smaller size of older fish. The Commission therefore proposes to close the targeted fisheries for both stocks, and to maintain the closure for the targeted fisheries on cod stocks, western herring and salmon in most of the main basin.

The Commission will propose setting by-catch TACs for western cod, eastern cod, western herring, Bothnian herring and central herring on the basis of additional information expected in autumn. This proposal will allow vessels to land the unavoidable catches of each of these weak stocks when fishing for example for plaice or sprat.

The proposed TACs are based on the best available scientific advice from ICES and follow the Baltic multiannual management plan adopted in 2016 by the European Parliament and the Council. [...]

Next steps

Based on these proposals, EU countries will take a final decision to determine the maximum quantities of the most important commercial fish species that can be caught in the Baltic Sea basin. The Council will examine the Commission's proposal in view of adopting it during a Ministerial meeting on 23-24 October.


The fishing opportunities proposal is part of the European Union's approach to adjust the levels of fishing to long-term sustainability targets, called maximum sustainable yield (MSY), as agreed by the Council and the European Parliament in the Common Fisheries Policy. The Commission's proposal is also in line with the policy intentions expressed in the Commission's Communication “Sustainable fishing in the EU: state of play and orientations for 2024" and with the Multiannual Plan for the management of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea.

The current situation is difficult for fishermen and women as formerly important commercial stocks (western and eastern cod; western, central and Bothnian herring; and salmon in the southern Baltic Sea and rivers) are also under additional pressures, notably from habitat loss due to a degradation of the environment both in inland waters as well as in the Baltic Sea itself. To help fishermen and women in the Baltic Sea, Member States and coastal regions can use the European Social Fund Plus to implement measures for lifelong learning and skills development.

The Baltic Sea is the most polluted sea in Europe. It is affected by biodiversity loss, climate change, eutrophication, overfishing, and elevated levels of contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and litter. Concerned about this situation, the European Commission is organising the second edition of the Our Baltic Conference in Palanga, Lithuania, on 29 September 2023. [...]

(PM European Commission, gek.)

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