New Economics Foundation records Baltic Sea 2015 fishing TACs exceed scientific advice

In a Briefing, published 31st October 2014, the New Economics Foundation record that five fish stocks in the Baltic Sea have been given fishing TACs (total allowable catch) for 2015 which exceed scientific advice.

The EU undertook in its 2014 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to ensure that no stocks were over-fished in the future, and that scientific advice about catch limits would always be followed.  The setting of the Baltic Sea TACs for 2015 is the first evidence of whether the EU is conforming with its 2014 CFP reforms.

In its Briefing, titled Landing the blame: overfishing in the Baltic Sea, the New Economics Foundation observes: “Fisheries ministers risk damaging our natural resources beyond repair by consistently fishing over and above the limits recommended by scientists. This is the first in a series of briefings to identify which countries are standing in the way of more fish, profits and jobs for European citizens.

“Food for an additional 160 million EU citizens. An extra €3.2 billion in annual revenue. 100,000 new jobs across the continent. Far from being a pipe dream, this could be a reality if we properly managed one of Europe’s most significant natural resources — our seas. If EU waters were properly managed — with damaged fish stocks allowed to return to their maximum sustainable yield (MSY) — we could enjoy their full potential within a generation.

“In the October 2014 Council, ministers agreed fishing limits for ten Baltic Sea stocks including herring, cod, salmon, plaice, sprat. For five stocks these were set at above scientific recommendations. Eight nations will have access to these stocks: Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Sweden.


Table 1. Baltic Sea stocks with fishing limits over scientific advice [Source: NEF : Landing the blame: overfishing in the Baltic Sea].

Fish stock (ICES fishing zone) Scientific advice (tonnes) TAC agreed by Ministers (tonnes) Difference (tonnes) Difference (%) Countries with largest share
Cod (25-32) 29,085 51,429 22,344 76.82 Poland (28%) Sweden (23%) Denmark (23%)
Cod (22-24) 8,793 15,900 7,107 80.83 Denmark (44%) Germany(21%) Sweden (16%)
Plaice (22-32) 3,249 3,409 160 4.92 Denmark (72%) Poland (15%) Germany (8%)
Salmon * (32) 10,703 13,106 2,403 22.48 Finland (90%) Estonia (10%)
Sprat (22-32) 199,622 213,581 13,959 6.99 Poland (29%) Sweden (19%) Latvia (14%)

* Number of individuals


Source: New Economics Foundation, 31st October 2014.  For the full details, see

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