EU ministers OK Baltic catch limits; activists object

AP News
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Posted: Oct 23, 2015 9:30 AM

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — European Union ministers have reached agreement in principle on catch limits in 2016 for leading commercial species of fish in the Baltic Sea — limits environmentalists said on Friday are too high in many cases.

The ministers reached the agreement Thursday night at a meeting in Luxembourg. In a statement, they said the limits take into account scientific advice as well as the EU's recently changed Common Fisheries Policy.

But Andrew Clayton, a spokesman for Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization, said the limits, which concern 10 commercial fish stocks, exceed scientific recommendations in seven cases. Last year, he said, ministers exceeded scientists' recommendations for herring, cod, plaice, Atlantic salmon and sprat.

"Overfishing risks damaging fish stocks and threatening the livelihoods of fishermen," Clayton said.

Environmental group Greenpeace said the EU quota of 12,720 metric tons (14,021 tons) for Baltic West cod next year is 63 percent more than the limit scientists suggest.

"It is time for Europe's governments to adhere to the recommendations from scientists and meet their obligations to end overfishing once and for all," said Justine Maillot, Greenpeace's oceans policy officer.

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This version corrects the name of Andrew Clayton.