Report from the 30th Session of the International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission
The 30th Session of the International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission was opened on 6 September 2004 in the White Hall of the City Hall of Gda?sk where the “Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources in the Baltic Sea and the Belts” was signed by representatives of all coastal states of the Baltic Sea on 13 September 1973.
The Convention, later called the “Gda?sk Convention” was the first international convention established in the Baltic Sea region.
The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Poland, Mr. Jerzy Pilarczyk, the vice-president of the city of Gda?sk Mr. Waldemar Nocny and the Chairman of the IBSFC Mr. Victor Osadtchy from the Russian Federation as well as observers from FAO, HELCOM, ICES, Baltic 21 addressed the meting, referred to the achievements of the Commission and wished the meeting full success.
The Thirtieth Session was the first meeting of the Commission after the accession of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to the European Union on 1 May 2004.
The 4 newcomers to the European Union informed on their actions taken to withdraw from the Convention according to the Treaty obligation for the accession countries to the EU. The EU has the sole competence to represent the Member States in the international fishery organisations.
The fixing of the 2005 TACs was based on the scientific advice provided by ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea).
The Commission was focusing on the implementation of the “Management Plan for the Cod stocks in the Baltic Sea” adopted by the Extraordinary Session in Cracow, 25 – 27 June 2003.
The Contracting Parties worked hard to reach agreement on the TACs for the Cod stocks for 2005 but despite all their efforts, it was impossible to reach an agreement on the TAC for the Eastern Cod stock. The Contracting Parties have committed themselves to maintaining close contact in order to make further progress on this issue.
The TAC for Herring was set for the first time according to 4 Management Areas agreed upon by the Commission in 2003:
Northern Area 64.000 t
Central Area 130.000 t
Gulf of Riga 38.000 t
Western Area 46.000 t
The Sprat TAC was increased to 550.000 tonnes (2004 – 420,000) because of the strong stock abundance.
This is also an indication that the long term management strategy of the Commission for this stock pays off.
The Salmon TAC in the Main Basin and the Gulf of Bothnia has been set at the level of 460.000 fish as for the Main Basin and Gulf of Bothnia. A low TAC reduces the catch of wild Salmon so that more individuals can return to their home rivers for spawning.
As a result of the implementation of the IBSFC Salmon Action Plan an improvement of the wild salmon stocks in the Gulf of Bothnia and the Main Basin has been achieved. The low state of the Gulf of Finland wild Salmon is according to the latest analysis caused by factors outside the fishery and cannot be improved by fishery management measures.
The Parties recognised the persistent difficulties associated with unreported catches of Cod in the Baltic Sea. In order to make further improvements in control and enforcement, they agreed to develop measures to eliminate these problems in the future.
The meeting was characterised by an excellent level of genuine co-operation between the European Community and the Russian Federation.
The Commission - the lead party of the Fisheries Sector of the “Baltic 21” initiative – was working along the lines of its Action Plan.
According to “Baltic 21” the Fisheries Sector belongs to those sectors that have made progress over the last Triennial Period.