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Support for fishermen affected by the eastern Baltic cod closure [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Frederik Scholaert (3rd edition, updated on 22.02.2021),

© Hans Christiansson / Shutterstock

Eastern Baltic cod has long supported the livelihoods of many Baltic fishermen, but stocks of this valuable fish have been declining sharply in recent years. Every year since 2014, total allowable catches have been reduced accordingly. Scientific advice published in May 2019 reinforced the concerns regarding eastern Baltic cod, and estimated the stock to be below safe biological limits. Scientists point to high natural mortality resulting from various environmental pressures, including a lack of salinity, little oxygen, pollution, high water temperatures and parasite infestation. In July 2019, as an emergency measure, the Commission imposed an immediate closure of the fishery, with the exception of a limited amount arising from by-catch. Subsequently, fishing opportunities for 2020 and 2021 were limited to by-catches. As recovery of the stock is not expected before 2024, the Commission issued a proposal in order to allow support for permanent cessation. After two trilogue meetings, the Council and Parliament reached provisional agreement on the proposal on 22 September 2020. The agreement extended the scope of the support to include fishermen targeting cod and herring in the western Baltic, due to the poor state of, and reduced fishing opportunities for, those stocks. The agreed text was adopted by the EP on 11 November 2020 and by the Council on 13 November 2020. It was published in the Official Journal on 30 November 2020.


Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1139 as regards the introduction of capacity limits for Eastern Baltic cod, data collection and control measures in the Baltic Sea, and Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 as regards permanent cessation for fleets fishing for Eastern Baltic cod
Committee responsible: Fisheries (PECH) COM(2019) 564
Rapporteur: Niclas Herbst (EPP, Germany) 2019/0246(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs: Ivo Hristov (S&D, Bulgaria)
Søren Gade (Renew, Denmark)
Ska Keller (Greens/EFA, Germany)
Elżbieta Rafalska (ECR, Poland)
Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, the Netherlands)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Procedure completed. Regulation (EU) 2020/1781
OJ L400, 30.11.2020, pp. 1-6



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