Does the Commission regard Fmsy as an upper limit for fishing mortality as laid down in the common fisheries policy, Article 2.2 and the UN Fish Stock Agreement?
If so, can the Commission then justify why the ICES was requested to provide plausible values ‘around’ Fmsy for stocks in the North Sea, in contradiction to the basic regulation?
The Commission uses the fishing mortality that according to the International Council on the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) corresponds to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for the preparation of its (bi-)annual proposals for total allowable catches (TACs). These proposals form the basis for the setting of fishing opportunities by the Council. The Commission’s Communication on the fishing opportunities for 2016 confirms this approach and the Commission’s intention to propose TACs in line with achieving MSY in 2016.
The request to ICES to provide ranges of MSY follows on the conclusions of the Interinstitutional Task Force on multiannual plans of April 2014. The Task Force, which brought together the three institutions, suggested it would be appropriate to express FMSY in ranges in response to the specificities of management of mixed fisheries under multiannual plans. ICES has provided these MSY fishing mortality values as an outcome of scientific work, applying standard modelling and statistical analysis techniques. ICES has indicated that the ranges are calculated based on maximising long-term average yield without biological risk. This is in line with the definition of MSY included in the Basic Regulation on the common fisheries policy. The concept of ranges will be introduced in the context of the new generation of multiannual plans, of which the first proposal on fisheries in the Baltic Sea is currently being examined by the institutions.