Miljörörelser oroliga för torsken i västra Östersjön

Flera olika miljörörelser har tillsammans skrivit till EU-kommissionen då de är oroliga för torskbeståndet i de västra delarna av Östersjön. Den konkreta anledningen till skrivelsen är de tyska och danska regeringarnas beslut att tillåta trålfiske på rödspätta och annan plattfiske under det torskfiskestopp som ska råda under lekperioden februari-mars. Miljöorganisationerna menar att beslutet tagits i strid med EU:s lagar och förordningar.

Torsk

Torsk. Bild: Wilhelm von Wright

Det går inte att fiska rödspätta med trål utan att fånga torsk vilket gjort att myndigheterna i de två länderna godkänt att fångsten får bestå av 10% torsk. Sannolikt får trålarna dock mer torsk än så vilket då kommer att resultera i olagliga utkast och dålig kontroll på hur mycket torsk som egentligen fångas. Det hela resulterar i att ett fiskbestånd som behöver skyddas i praktiken inte blir skyddat:

Fishing for cod in the western Baltic Sea is prohibited during the spawning season, which is all of February and March. However, the German administration allowed for a new flatfish fishery with a permissible 10% cod bycatch during the closed period. Denmark then followed suit. As a result there is now increased fishing pressure on a stock that is below the lowest biomass reference point and has been overfished for many years.

Miljörörelserna som inkluderar Svenska Naturskyddsföreningen, Sverigebaserade FishSec och Oceanan vill att EU-kommissionen stoppar fisket:

The western Baltic cod is as mentioned above a vulnerable stock for which the spawning stock biomass has been below the lowest reference point, Blim, for a decade. Despite this the quota for 2017 was already set by Member States at 5597 tonnes, or 352% higher than the 1588 tonnes recommended by the Commission.

For these reasons, the decision of Member States to allow fishing activities that will catch cod during its spawning season is not respecting the legal requirements of the fishing opportunities regulation for 2017 and its amendment, the Baltic MAP and the CFP Basic Regulation.

We believe that this decision also fulfils both conditions for triggering the closure of a fishery under the Control Regulation namely that Member States do not respect their obligations under a multiannual plan and that the Commission has evidence that this failure constitutes a serious threat to the conservation of a stock. Moreover, this measure is also in line with the possibility granted to the Commission in the CFP Basic Regulation to adopt emergency measures in cases of serious threats to marine biological resources.

Based on these provisions, we urge the Commission to intervene and close the flatfish fishery as a safeguard measure to avoid any catch of western Baltic cod during its spawning season and prevent a possible collapse of this stock.

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