On 3 August 2016 the European Commission (EC) has proposed a multi-annual plan for demersal fish stocks in the North Sea, aiming to ensure that stocks are fished at sustainable levels. According to 2012 data, the demersal sector in the North Sea represents more than 70% of the whole fishing sector and corresponds to more than 850 million euros in landed value.

This EC proposal establishes a plan that takes into account several factors: the fisheries of the North Sea are indeed highly complex, involving vessels from several countries and with a variety of fishing equipment and catches such as cod, haddock, plaice and sole.

Starting from scientific advices from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries and from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seasthe proposal requires the EU to set catch limits that restore and maintain fish stocks above levels that can produce the Maximum Sustainable Yield, allowing the fishing industry to profit with the highest amount of fish from the sea, while keeping fish stocks healthy.

This proposal for the North Sea, which builds on the political compromise that the European Parliament and Council reached on the multi-annual plan for the Baltic Sea, is now submitted for discussion to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

EC Press Release