Swedish disappointment over Baltic cod quotas

Sweden on Thursday expressed disappointment over the European Union's decision to increase fishing quotas in the eastern parts of the Baltic Sea, insisting that the move would be disastrous for the cod stock there.

“I am deeply disappointed and very worried. We owe it to coming generations to work to avoid a collapse of the cod stock in the Baltic Sea,” Agriculture Minister Ann-Christin Nykvist said in a statement.

The EU agreement to boost quotas for cod fishing in the sensitive eastern part of the Baltic and to increase the number of days trawlers are permitted to reel in the fish “is little thought-through and a serious decision,” she added.

Cod stocks in the Baltic Sea are considered in peril due to overfishing and pollution.

Nykvist’s comments came hours after fishery ministers from all 25 EU nations, except Sweden, agreed to a new set of fishing quotas.

The deal on fishing quotas throughout European waters, reached after two days of intense negotiations, was widely hailed as a fair balance in terms of protecting the environment without unduly penalizing fishing fleets.

Environmental groups however complained that the agreement avoided “the reality of a collapsed fishery”, with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) calling for a “total ban on cod fishing”.

In the eastern part of the Baltic Sea, the EU has agreed to increase cod quotas to 45,000 tonnes from today’s 38,000 tonnes and to only bar cod fishing for three months each year, down from four and a half months this year.