Freshly caught herrings in the fishing port Freest (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
Photo: Jens Büttner / dpa-Zentralbild
In future, fishermen in the western Baltic Sea will no longer be allowed to specifically catch cod and, with a few exceptions, also no herring.
After more than 24 hours of negotiations, the EU countries agreed that only bycatch of just under 490 tons of cod and 788 tons of herring should be possible.
The background to the new rules are worrying developments in many fish stocks in the Baltic Sea.
The countries are thus following the EU Commission's proposal for herring.
In the case of western cod, however, the approved amount exceeds the proposal of the Brussels authorities by around 165 tonnes.
For Germany this means that 435 tons of western herring and 104 tons of western cod may be caught.
Cod is synonymous with cod;
Only the term cod is generally used for fish of this type from the Baltic Sea, fish from other waters are usually called cod.
In the current agreement, however, there is an exemption for fishing boats under twelve meters that may continue to fish specifically for herring with "passive fishing gear", such as gill nets.
This was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Klöckner against agreement
In a communication, the German ministry also indicated that it did not agree to the decision.
Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) had unsuccessfully demanded that a decision on western herring should be made in December because this stock is migrating and other countries fish from it.
Negotiations with these countries will not take place until the end of the year.
Klöckner's fear is therefore that a strict EU decision in favor of the Baltic Sea could induce other countries to catch higher catches in other seas.
Last year, 1,600 tonnes of western herring and 4,000 tonnes of western cod were allowed to be caught across the EU.
Numerous organizations for environmental protection have long criticized excessive catches.
fdi / dpa