During ‘Our Baltic Conference’ organised under the auspices of Commissioner Sinkevičius on 28 September 2020, the ministers of fisheries, agriculture and environment of Baltic Sea Member States committed to step up efforts to reduce pressures on the marine environment of the Baltic Sea by signing a Ministerial Declaration.
Three topics were addressed during the conference: eutrophication, fisheries and pollution from marine litter. Speakers pointed out that at least 97% of the Baltic Sea suffers from eutrophication[i]. This leads to excessive growth of algae, biodiversity impact and economic losses. Other pressures include contaminants, seabed loss and disturbance (e.g. impact from bottom-trawling on the seafloor integrity and habitats), overfishing, perturbed or disrupted food-webs, marine litter, and underwater noise. Currently, the Baltic Sea is far from reaching Good Environmental Status[ii] as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The joint commitments aim to turn the tide to the benefit of fishermen’s livelihoods, coastal communities and the environment.
For sustainable fishing, the EU Common Fisheries Policy sets a number of rules for managing European fishing fleets and catches. In some European seas, there are requirements for selective gear to reduce unwanted bycatch. Measures can also be undertaken regarding the loss of fishing gear at sea and its impacts on biodiversity. The discussions showed that the three topics addressed in the conference are closely interlinked. Cooperation between stakeholders is therefore essential. Commitments in the Ministerial Declaration on securing sustainable fisheries and aquaculture include:
Read the Ministerial Declaration to discover the full range of commitments. Dive into the Map of the Week to learn about the distribution of different fishing gear used by the fleets of European Union and European Economic Area countries.
The data in this map are provided by EUROSTAT.