Fishing: More restrictions possible for German Baltic Sea fishermen

German Baltic Sea fishermen could face more restrictions in the coming year.

Fishing: More restrictions possible for German Baltic Sea fishermen

German Baltic Sea fishermen could face more restrictions in the coming year. On Monday in Luxembourg, the EU states will discuss, among other things, the question of how many tons of cod, herring and plaice they are allowed to take out of the sea. The background to the restrictions is the poor condition of the stocks there.

The EU Commission therefore proposed in the summer to further restrict fishing opportunities. Factors such as overfishing and climate change have harmed the animals in recent years. Environmentalists have long been warning of the collapse of entire populations.

Federal Fisheries Minister Cem Özdemir explained before the meeting: "Only stable fish stocks in a good biological condition can be fished sustainably." The ultimate goal is therefore to ensure that scientific advice is followed. “However, we cannot support restrictions on coastal fishing that go beyond the scientific recommendations,” argues the Green politician.

In its proposals presented in the summer, the Commission is based on the assessment of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). 20 countries have joined together - including Germany. The researchers write about the situation of the stocks that are important for German fishermen, among other things: "Many of the herring stocks are in difficulty." When it comes to cod, it is said that poorer habitats, pollution and climate change are affecting the fish.

No more cod for recreational fishermen either

The Commission wants protective measures for cod to remain in the western Baltic Sea. Recreational fishermen should no longer be allowed to catch it. There could also be further restrictions on herring. Since 2022, herring has no longer been allowed to be specifically fished in the western Baltic Sea - but so far there have been exceptions for boats under twelve meters long that fish with gillnets. According to the Commission's proposals, these exceptions could now be eliminated.

Fisheries expert Valeska Diemel from the environmental protection organization BUND also advocates for low plaice catches, as many cod end up in the nets as bycatch. “The focus now must be on the recovery of the ecosystem,” says Diemel. Fisheries must reduce their impact on fish and their habitat.

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