Brussels, 13 December 2018
WK 15550/2018 INIT
This is a paper intended for a specific community of recipients. Handling and
further distribution are under the sole responsibility of community members.
General Secretariat of the Council
N° prev. doc.:
Proposal for a Council Regulation fixing for 2019 the fishing opportunities for
certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for
Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters
Delegations will find attached written comments by the Spanish delegation on the above-mentioned
WK 15550/2018 INIT
1. Bycatch TACs for Zero-TAC stocks
In its proposal for the fishing opportunities in 2019 (doc. 13731/18 + ADD 1-2), the Commission
proposed a bycatch TAC for five species where ICES recommends a zero-TAC. The proposal gave
no details on how to distribute this bycatch TAC among Member States.
Question 1: How could such an arrangement work in practice? Should there be criteria for the
distribution among Member States? If so, what could they be?
It is clear that the Commission is been very flexible by allowing this bycatch TAC not to close the
fisheries OF ALL MEMBER STATES and not only the ones that have quota on those five stocks.
Therefore, Spain considers that the solution must be a stable and widespread one that solve the
problems of all member States
. The Concerned states are working in the Regional High Level
group on NWW waters to find a solution that while keeping some sharing by relative stability
can warranty a certain quota for compulsory swapping for the ones that have no quota at all.
We can accept this approach of a first distribution as far as there is a compulsory system for an
equitable an fair swapping system that puts quota for the countries with no quota. We do not
have to lose sight from the fact that this a bycatch TAC that has been calculated according to the
real need of all fleets in those areas and not only the ones with quotas.
If there is no agreement, then the only solution will be for the Commission to set an others quota
stocks for those 5 stocks to be used by the countries that do not have any quota
2. The “Open Pool”
An alternative proposal has been informally discussed among Member States. According to this
proposal, Member States with a quota would reserve a certain percentage thereof for an open
pool, from which compulsory swaps with Member States without a quota would then be carried
Question 2: Is this approach a workable solution to solve choke situations related to zero
quotas? In addition, could it also work to solve the situation described above for the five Zero-
TAC stocks? How would Member States ensure the implementation of the swaps?
The open pool is a good approach to the problems of zero TAC or zero quota while maintaining
the relative stability, as far as there are mechanism that make the swapping compulsory and
that there is a preferential access to the ones that need those quotas. For sure, the system will
need an equitable and fair market that do not jeopardize the important quotas form the
receiving country when they need the ones offered to maintain open his fisheries.
3. Enhanced Swapping and enhanced inter-area/inter-species flexibilities
Swapping and inter-area / inter-species flexibilities have been used in the past to address
problems of insufficient quota. Such tools could potentially be improved and made more
Question 3: Is there a potential to reinforce already existing choke mitigation tools?
One of the problems to implement an inter area flexibility for the same sock is that any country
can block any of them anytime just by saying that is not in agreement. This can be done to avoid
others fleet to fish more in the same area or to limit the concurrence in the same market, even
if that will be a solution for the demanding country. There should be a system that will force
those countries to duly justify why they oppose to the demand for a new inter area flexibility.
For inter area flexibility where the TAC in one area and the neighboring one are of different
stocks, the system takes a long process that will demand an special ICES advice that can take
months (Spain is still waiting since December 2017 for answer from ICES to the demand of an
increase in the special condition between stocks of horse mackerel in areas 9a and 8c). We
consider that the Commission should include those inter area flexibility on the TAC and quotas
on a provisional basis due that the quantities are usually very low (less than 5%). Spain has asked
for two of those inter area and different stock but same species to solve the choke situation in
areas 8ab and area 7. One of them is a 5% of WHG/08 to be fished on in areas 7b, 7c, 7d, 7e, 7f,
7g, 7h, 7j y 7k (WHG/*7X7A-C). Even if we get the agreement from all member states it will take
a long time to get an advice. The second one is the possibility to fish up to a 5% of the stock of
sole SOO/8CDE3 to be fished on SOL/8AB that will solve forever the problem of very low quota
of sole that Spain has in that area and that can choke in the future our fisheries. It is clear that
fishes do not know of sea lines that divide the stocks and therefore those minimum amounts
can be very helpful.
4. Other solutions
Question 4: Are there other possible workable solutions?
In the past, the Commission has included some solutions for problems of member states that
had no quota in some fisheries by including an “others quota” with a small amount of the TAC.
That has been a break of the relative stability to help the countries with no quota on the past.
There are some examples like the Bluefin tuna or the red sea bream. The Landing Obligation is
in itself a break of the relative stability, especially for Spain that has no quota on may stocks in
the Celtic Sea and West of Scotland not because our fleet has no historical records of those
species but only because the rest of the members decided in our adhesion not to give us any of
them. We have been developing our activity with no problem (so with stability) many years,
reducing and adapting our fleet to the quotas of the three main species Hake, Megrim and
Anglerfish (it has gone from 300 in the adhesion treaty to only 90 left today). This is why Spain
considers that reserving a small amount as “quota others” will be a permanent solution to the
new situation that is breaking our stability. The Commission in12th of June 2012 agreed that
the Landing Obligation will never be a way of reducing the fishing possibilities. This is way we
need permanent solutions to avoid the end of our fleet.