Environmentalists call for an end to overfishing in the Baltic Sea

Cod in the Baltic are getting skinnier and smaller; the reason is m.in. lack of food and overfishing of the reservoir, environmental organizations point out, based on scientific reports. They are calling for restrictions on fishing, especially of eastern cod stocks.

Environmentalists further add that the European Commission’s proposal for a catch limit for the eastern cod stock for 2019 contradicts the recommendations of the scientificow.

A meeting of ministers will be held in Luxembourg on October 15-16ow ds. ospreyowishing to fish the EU member states, during whichorego they will make decisions on the. Baltic Sea limitoThe Commission is working with the.

Justyna Zajchowska, advisor to the. ospreyoThe report of the Directorate General of Fisheries for The Pew Charitable Trusts indicated that the European Commission’s proposals (dated August 31 of this year.) regarding the limitoin the fishery in four out of ten casesoIn the case of the two countries, they exceed the indications of scientistsow. It is about limits for dwoch salmon stocks, the western herring stock and the eastern cod stock.

She stressed that scientists, ktorzy wspoThe Commission is working with them to develop the limitoin the fishery, have recommended that no quotas be allocated for western herring in 2019. The EC, in turn, has proposed a limit of more than 6,000. tons.

Significant roThe difference between the recommendations of scientistsoin, and the Commission’s proposal concerns roalso of the eastern cod stock. Scientists advise that the catch limit should not exceed approx. 16 thousand. tons, while the EC proposes 24,000. Environmentalists are advocating that, after necessary adjustments such as taking into account Russia’s share of the catch of this stock, the limit, according to scientific advice, should be approx. 13 thousand. tons.

Zajchowska assessed that in the case of the eastern cod stock, the European Commission applied a certain "trick", because the proposed limit for 2019 is about. 4 thousand. tons less than the current fishing quota. – EC will boast that it is reducing fishingoin this endangered stock, but this is nowhere near what scientists have proposedow. Our concern is also that the EC’s proposal is most often this lower limit, from ktorej negotiations begin. Often the quotas set are higher. Interestingly, this proposal of the Commission also aroused some surprise representative of theoin the industry,” Zajchowska pointed out.

Andrzej Bialas, advisor to the. fishery policyoIn a statement issued by the Oceana organization, he explained that the eastern Baltic cod stock has been doing worse and worse for several years.

– Fish are getting smaller. Thirty years ago, the average size of cod, ktory proceeded to spawn it was 35-40 cm. 35 cm is also now the protective size for cod. For several years, scientists as well as fishermen have been pointing out that spawning cod have approx. 20 cm, are smaller than herring. For several years, scientists have also struggled to determine the age of eastern cod, he noted.

Experts explain that there are four hypotheses as to why this is happening. One of the causes is eutrophication, or excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, whichory causes the formation of anaerobic "deserts" at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Another is parasitic diseases of these fish, or the lack of a large enough food base (e.g. sprat). The fourth reason is overfishing of the stock, i.e., the catch ofow exceeding the zr limitoThe equivalent, whichory would allow fish to rebuild stock.

– Most likely, the mix of these four factors is responsible for this situationow. However, it is impossible not to zwroccerns about the increasing catches of sprat and fishingoin cod, whichory exceeds the recommendations of scientistsow – Zajchowska assessed.

Environmental organizations are concerned about roalso the Commission’s proposal to remove the closed season for western cod. It is currently in effect in February and March, which is when these fish spawn.

They add that if this stock "let live", that is, allow themselves to recover, then within a few years the catch limits could be much higher than they are today.

– At the moment, Poland has 650 tons of the amount of 5,500. tons of western cod fishing quota. 20 years ago, the catch was approx. 40 thousand. ton. Commission’s proposal for 2019. is about. 7 thousand. tons; and NGO recommendations 6.7 thousand. tons. If we reduced the burden on this stock by limiting the catch, then with the right assumptions in 3-5 years we could think about returning even to 40,000. tons per year,” assessed Bialys.

He added that this has roIt also makes economic sense, since since 2012 the Baltic fishermen have beenoThe factories are making money on herring and sprat. By making cod small, there is simply less money to be made from it.