December Council of Ministers starts today
It all kicks off once again today as ministers responsible for fishing in their respective countries come together in Brussels to thrash out how the cake gets to be divided, accompanied by spin-doctors, advisers, specialists and lobbyists, while the industry waits for the results.
According to the European Commission, the proposals are for quotas for 78 stocks; 53 of them either increased or to remain unchanged, while the proposal is to reduce quotas for 25 of these stocks.
Commissioner Karmenu Vella puts a more positive spin on the future of fisheries than some of his predecessors, commenting that some stocks are gaining strength, notably North Sea sole, northern hake and southern horse mackerel, while the European fisheries sector as a whole returned an estimated â‚¬1.50 billion profit in 2017.
â€˜Our fleet is becoming more profitable and that is because some of the EU's key fish stocks are healthier and more abundant,â€™ Karmenu Vella said.
â€˜The perseverance of the fishermen and the responsible fisheries management decisions stand to prove that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand. That being said now is not the time for complacency. We must continue our joint efforts to manage our seas and oceans in a way that works for the environment, for the economy and for future generations.â€™
That said, the December Council is traditionally a tense time for the industry as politicians negotiate on behalf of their countriesâ€™ fishing sector, and regardless of the outcome, they invariably come home claiming to have fought hard and struck a great agreement for their fishermen.
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