In 2013, after decades of overfishing and mismanagement, a new reform of the Common Fisheries Policy was widely celebrated for its ambition to deliver healthy oceans and a sustainable fishing industry. Central to this reform was the commitment to end overfishing “by 2015 where possible and, on a progressive, incremental basis at the latest by 2020 for all stocks”. With 2020 just around the corner, we have reached the deadline set in the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to end overfishing, although six out of ten stocks are still being overfished in the northeast Atlantic (STECF, 2019).
On 14 October 2019, the EU Council of Ministers (Agrifish configuration) will meet to set the total allowable catches (TACs) for the Baltic Sea. The scientific advice on TACs is for several large reductions to meet the CFP commitment to end overfishing and the European Commission has issued low TAC proposals as a result. As in previous years, low TACs have prompted socio-economic concerns about the short-term financial consequences for parts of the EU fishing fleet.
In this context, the Danish Government commissioned the Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO) at the University of Copenhagen to analyse the financial consequences of the Baltic Sea TAC proposals for western Baltic cod (subdivisions 22- 24), eastern Baltic cod (subdivisions 25-32), and western Baltic herring (22-24).
The IFRO study (Andersen & Andersen, 2019) takes a static-comparative approach, comparing the 2018 TACs and financial performance of the Danish Baltic fleet with performance of the fleet under the same conditions as 2018 but using the proposed 2020 TACs from the European Commission. This briefing summarises the study and highlights several important caveats to consider in the process of setting TACs. The relevance of assessing socio-economic impacts of the TACs given the mandatory 2020 deadline is not considered here.
This briefing was originally published by the New Economics Foundation here.