The EU ministers of agriculture decided on the fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Luxembourg on 9 October. The ministers also discussed the developments on the agricultural markets and the role of agriculture in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Finnish representative at the meeting was Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.
The Council decided the following fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea for 2018:
|TACs (total allowable catches,
|Baltic herring quota, Gulf of Bothnia||84 599||-40 %|
|Baltic herring quota, Gulf of Finland||229 355||+20 %|
|Baltic herring quota, Gulf of Riga||28 999||-7 %|
|Baltic herring quota, western stock||17 309||-39 %|
|Sprat quota||262 310||+1 %|
|Salmon quota, Baltic Sea main basin and Gulf of Bothnia||91 132||-5 %|
|Salmon quota, Gulf of Finland||10 003||-5 %|
|Cod quota, Eastern stock||28 388||+8 %|
|Cod quota, Western stock||5 597||0 %|
|Plaice quota||7 076||-10 %|
Finland, together with three other Baltic Sea states, voted against the proposal. Finland could not accept the reduction of the total allowable catch of Baltic herring in the Gulf of Bothnia by 40 % because this is not in line with the 32% reduction proposed by the Scientific Council.
Minister Leppä is disappointed with the quota for Baltic herring, which cannot be considered justified. Baltic herring caught in the Gulf of Bothnia is very important for fisheries in Finland. In other respects the decision was a responsible one and follows the views of the Scientific Council. Both quotas for salmon were reduced by 5 %, which Finland fully agrees with.
In the section on agriculture the Commission told about the developments on the agricultural product markets and the Member States had a long discussion about the market outlook. Finland considers it important that the Commission continues to monitor the market situation. The producer prices have risen in most parts of Europe, but in Finland the prices of milk and pigmeat are still not high enough.
At the meeting Minister Leppä also told that in Finland harvesting, especially that of arable crops, is behind the usual schedule and the poor weather conditions weaken the crop outlook.
– It seems that this year exceptionally large volumes will remain unharvested and the quality of the crop is also below the usual standard. This has significant impacts on farmers’ income and weakens their liquidity. I talked about this year’s crop damages with Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, who has a good understanding of our situation. As agreed, we will provide further information to the Commission on how serious the situation turns out to be, Minister Leppä said.
The Council also discussed the ways how the common agricultural policy could contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in accordance with the UN 2030 Agenda. Finland pointed out that the common agricultural policy already responds quite well to the efforts to promote many of the Sustainable Development Goals, but the policy implementation should be simplified.
– On the EU level there could be more cooperation especially in agricultural risk management, creating sustainable farming systems, promoting carbon-sequestering production practices, nutrient recycling, reducing food waste, and the innovation and research activities related to these, Leppä said.
Minister Leppä also talked about the African swine fever with Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.
Minister Leppä told that Finland is further intensifying the measures to prevent African swine fever. This is most important for Finland, which is also why the Government has decided to allocate more funds to keeping the disease outside the Finnish borders.
Kari Valonen, Head of EU Coordination and International Affairs, tel. +358 295 162 269
Risto Lampinen, Fisheries Counsellor, tel. + 358 295 162 458
Press releases and other materials on the Council website
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