TACs and quotas

The European Commission (EC) prepares proposals for measures and instruments for resource conservation including fishing quotas and fishing effort limitations after a certain consultative process. TACs (Total Allowable Catches) and quotas are annually defined for commercially important fish stocks of the Baltic (cod, herring, sprat, salmon and plaice). Baltic TACs are published in Baltic specific Council regulations (see "Related information" on the right) and the European Commission's original proposals and ICES advices are published on the Commission's webpage: "TACs and quotas".

The assessments of stock sizes and proposed exploitation levels are carried out by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). Baltic Sea Regional Advisory Council (BS-RAC), which is made up of regional fisheries associations and other stakeholders including HELCOM, is giving its opinion on the EC proposals into the process. The Council of the EU (consisting of agriculture and fisheries ministers) adopts regulations in most of the cases by a qualified majority in consultation with the European Parliament.

EU regulations comprise also the Baltic specific fishery technical regulatory measures, such as mesh sizes, minimum landing sizes, by-catch limitations as well as periods and areas closed for fishing. Ban on driftnet fisheries was set after a three year transitional period in 2008. The Baltic coastal and inland fisheries are mainly regulated by each Baltic country through their national legislation.