Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: "We had a very productive discussion with the Ministers of the Member States yesterday covering fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea, which were adopted unanimously. With this decision we deliver good news for our seas and for our fishermen alike. Next year, 7 out of 8 stocks for which complete scientific advice was available will be fished at sustainable levels, covering 98% of landings. At the same time, our decisions will mean nearly 1 billion euros worth of catches with an average gross profit margin of above 30." In particular, the fishing opportunities - or Total Allowable Catches (TAC) - have been increased for Western cod, plaice, sprat and Gulf of Riga herring. As demonstrated already last year, the increased fishing opportunities will have a positive impact on the profitability of the fleets, and 9 of the top 10 most profitable fleets are going to be small-scale. The same levels of catches as last year were preserved for salmon in the main basin. For the remaining stocks (Eastern cod, salmon in the Gulf of Finland, Western, Central and Eastern herring, as well as herring in the Gulf of Bothnia), a reduction in catches was necessary to ensure the stocks are kept within or brought back on track towards their safe biological limits. The Total Allowable Catches are based on scientific advice from the International Council on the Exploration of the Seas and follow the Baltic multiannual management plan adopted in 2016 by the Council and the European Parliament.
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