Sweden loses battle over Baltic fishing quotas

Sweden loses battle over Baltic fishing quotas
New Rural Affairs Minister Eskil Erlandsson
Sweden will decrease its herring and salmon catch quota in the Baltic Sea next year, a departure from years of wrangling over cod fishing.

Sweden had wanted even tougher measures for herring and salmon, but neighbouring Baltic Sea countries held firm during EU negotiations on Tuesday. However, after years of cutting cod catches to preserve the population, cod quotas will now increase.

Rural Affairs Minister Eskil Erlandsson embarked on a collision course with other EU countries during negotiations on next year’s catch quotas in the Baltic Sea. Only Sweden sided with the European Commission and wanted to cut quotas for herring and sprat by up to 30 percent and stick to previous agreements on cod fishing.

The agreement is close to what Sweden and the commission wanted. However, they were forced to reverse the cut in herring and sprat in certain parts of the Baltic Sea.

“To tell you the truth, I wish that we could have followed the commission’s proposal directly. However, I knew in advance that it would be impossible because we must always make compromises in order to even get a decision,” said Erlandsson on Tuesday.

Unlike previous years, the battle was not over cod. A special management plan has existed for several years governing cod fishing, which has resulted in more stable and predictable quotas.

Subsequently, cod has recovered well and EU countries have agreed to increase quotas by 15 percent in the eastern Baltic Sea and by 6 percent west of Denmark’s Bornholm.

The commission will now receive a mandate to develop similar plans for herring, salmon and sprat, something that Sweden has pushed hard to achieve. In December, fishing negotiations will continue for the rest of the EU’s waters.

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