European Union ministers have agreed to reduce the Baltic Sea catch quotas, and fishermen are already fearing it could have a huge economic impact on their livelihoods. The permitted catch of herring and cod in the western Baltic will be significantly reduced, following a meeting of EU fisheries ministers in Luxembourg earlier this week. Cod will only now be fished in very small numbers, with catches of the western cod to be cut by 68 percent, with herring hearing catch in the Western Baltic to be reduced by 71 percent.
But Germany has expressed fears the higher than expected cuts could completely destroy fishing on the German Baltic Sea coast.
The EU’s biggest economy could feel the pinch more than most, with the permitted catch of the western herring cut to 65 percent, and the allowed amount of western cod down to 60 percent.
Recreational cod fishermen will also be placed under heavy restrictions, and will only be allowed to catch five instead of seven each day. They will also only be allowed to catch just two fish in February and March.
The EU Commission has made the proposals based on scientific recommendations that examine the condition of individual stocks - a species of fish in a given area.Germany has been sent into a panic over new EU fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea (Image: GETTY)European Union ministers have agreed to reduce the Baltic Sea catch quota (Image: GETTY)
The total catches are then shared out among EU countries as national quotas but any country exceeding this will be forced to temporarily forced to stop fishing there.
But speaking ahead of the negotiations about herring catch in the Western Baltic Sea, CDU Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner said: “Given the socio-economic impact of such a drastic cut, we propose a smaller cut in catch than the 71 per cent proposed by the Commission.
The Federal Agriculture Minister also lashed out at the quota for recreational cod fishing being cut to just two per day, warning: “This could amount to a closure of fishing tourism on the German Baltic Sea coast.”
The German Fisheries Association warned if the EU ministers continued to press ahead with the proposals over a ban, several companies on the Baltic coast will struggle to stay afloat and will go bankrupt.The EU has been criticised by fishing bodies over the planned move (Image: REUTERS)
Benjamin Schmöde, deputy chairman of the Schleswig-Holstein State Fisheries Association, said: “I do not think that the decision will deviate significantly from the recommendations of the EU Commission.”
The EU said the focus of the negotiations is to strike a balance between the protection of stocks and the interests and needs of the fishing industry.
EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella said: “Many Baltic fish stocks and ecosystems are in an alarming state.
“There will be serious short-term economic consequences for some fishermen."
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The EU argues the ban will make several types of fish thrive before it is eventually lifted, forcing the fishing industry to become more seasonal.
But Christopher Zimmermann, director of the Thünen Institute for Baltic Sea Fisheries in Rostock, claimed climate change and the associated warming of the Baltic Sea is a major cause of declining development of herring.
He said: “It was heavily overfished for years. The cod stock does not recover even if you close the fishery for the next five years.”
The British and French are continuing to clash over British territory, which Paris believes they have entitlement to.European fisheries - exclusive economic zones (Image: EXPRESS)
Boris Johnson’s Government has warned clashes would place immediate strain on maritime agencies, with nearly 300 foreign boats fishing illegally on day one of Brexit.
The Operation Yellowhammer document stated: “Up to 282 EU and European Economic Area nations’ fishing vessels could enter illegally or are already fishing in UK waters.
“This is likely to cause anger and frustration in the UK catching sector, which could lead to clashes between fishing vessels and an increase in non-compliance in the domestic fleet.
French fishermen have already warned they would stop British fish being sold in France if they were barred from the waters.Boris Johnson's Government warned of an immediate strain on maritime agencies in clashes with France (Image: GETTY)
Chairman Oliver Lepretre said: “If there is a hard Brexit, I can assure you that not a single kilo of seafood or fish from Britain will get into France.
Current EU laws make 12 nautical miles around the coast of Britain free to use for foreign ships.
International boats are also given access to up to 70 percent of the quotas for ground stocks in Britain.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.