EC steps regarding Baltic cod insufficient: Polish maritime minister

The European Commission’s emergency measures regarding the ailing Baltic cod stock are insufficient and will produce no results, the Polish Maritime Minister Marek Grobarczyk said on Tuesday.

On Tuesday the EC announced emergency measures to save the ailing eastern Baltic cod stock from impending collapse. Emergency measures will ban, with immediate effect, commercial fishing for cod in most of the Baltic Sea until 31 December 2019, the EC reported on its website.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella, said: “The impact of this cod stock collapsing would be catastrophic for the livelihoods of many fishermen and coastal communities all around the Baltic Sea. We must urgently act to rebuild the stock – in the interest of fish and fishermen alike. That means responding rapidly to an immediate threat now, through the emergency measures the Commission is taking. But it also means managing the stock – and the habitat it lives in – properly in the long term.”

The EC states that “the ban will come into force immediately and last until 31 December 2019. It will cover all fishing vessels and apply in all those areas of the Baltic Sea where the largest part of the stock is present, except for some specific targeted derogations. It follows measures that have already been taken by some Member States. Given that these measures do not ensure a uniform approach in all areas where the eastern Baltic cod stock is found, and that not all Member States intend to adopt national measures, the Commission has decided that further emergency action is warranted.”

Minister Grobarczyk wrote in a statement sent to Polish news agency PAP that Poland supported “radical bans and the limitation of fishing not only for cod but also for other fish species in the Baltic.”

He stressed that “spawning sites and cod reproduction areas have still not been protected by the EC,” and added that in his letter to EC Commissioner Vella, he had appealed for “more decisive steps regarding the protection of the Baltic Sea.”