Key fishing quotas won from EU

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The council meeting of EU agriculture and fisheries ministers in Luxembourg granted key concessions to Latvian proposals to boost permitted national hauls for sprats, herring and cod in 2015, reported the Agriculture Ministry Monday.

Despite Baltic sea ecologists’ calls for significant reductions in the take of these particular species especially in its eastern waters, Latvia was able to defend its position requesting a notable 10%-point reduction from the 17% slash recommended by the EC for sprats. The ministry press release said this would be enough to ensure current hauls in good condition.

As urged by the scientists, who hadn’t predicted the sudden unexplained plunge in fish populations last year after otherwise hopeful signs of a comeback following decades of devastating overfishing, the cod haul was to be limited by at least half in the Baltic, but instead only a 6% reduction was imposed on the western half, while a 22% cut was adopted on the eastern side.

As for herring, Latvia achieved significant hikes for the Gulf of Riga (26% more than the EC allowed last year, meaning an extra 4338 tons); while Baltic Sea salmon hauls will face a 10% reduction for 2015.

Agriculture minister Janis Duklavs said the gains in herring were especially hard-fought, but worth the effort in persuading his counterparts from fellow member-states attending the meeting in Luxembourg.

These species of fish are key sub-sectors of Latvia’s coastal fishing, fisheries and fish-processing businesses, critical to the region’s job pool and economy.

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