Members' Research Service By / August 31, 2017

Multiannual plan for North Sea demersal fisheries [EU Legislation in Progress]

After recent adoption of a plan concerning the Baltic Sea, this multiannual plan for North Sea demersal fisheries is the second management plan proposed by the European Commission since the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy agreed at the end of 2013. Such multiannual tools are essential for the sustainable exploitation of marine resources and offer better predictability on catches allowed to fishermen over time. They also set a framework for improved cooperation between the concerned Member States at sea regional level.

© Ivonne Wierink / Fotolia

Written by Irina Popescu (4th edition, Updated on 9.10.2018),

fishing boat on Dutch wadden sea
© Ivonne Wierink / Fotolia

The European Parliament and Council have adopted a new multiannual plan to manage fisheries in the North Sea and some adjacent maritime areas. The plan covers demersal species (i.e. species living close to the sea bottom). These stocks are exploited by various fishing fleets using various fishing gear, but often catching different species together (mixed fisheries). The North Sea demersal fisheries are conducted by several thousand EU vessels, mainly from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and represent over 70 % of EU catches in this area.

The plan introduces new rules on how the catch limits for each stock must be set, so that it is fished sustainably. The ranges within which the catch limits are set are based on the best available scientific advice, and updated regularly to take account of the most recent data. The plan also contains safeguard measures to restore stocks when they fall below safe biological limits, and sets a framework for improved cooperation between the Member States concerned at sea-regional level.


Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing a multi-annual plan for demersal stocks in the North Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks and repealing Council Regulation (EC) 676/2007 and Council Regulation (EC) 1342/2008.
Committee responsible:


Shadow rapporteurs:



Fisheries (PECH)

Ulrike Rodust (S&D, Germany)

Jens Gieseke (EPP, Germany)
Peter Van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands)
Nils Torvalds (ALDE, Finland)
Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, the Netherlands)
Linnéa Engström (Greens/EFA, Sweden)

COM(2016)493, 3.08.2016, 2016/0238 (COD)

Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly

Procedure completed Regulation (EU) 2018/973
OJ L 179, 16.7.2018, pp. 1-13

Stage: adoption, 10 steps

Fishing area limits
Fishing area limits

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