Under the Council Presidency of Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner, the EU fisheries ministers agreed this morning in Brussels - after a long night of negotiations - on the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and catch quotas for 2021 in the North Sea and the North Atlantic as well as in other EU and international waters. The negotiations on the stocks that are managed jointly with the United Kingdom were overshadowed and complicated by the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

The member states therefore followed the joint approach, proposed by the European Commission and the German Presidency of the Council, to lay down provisional quotas for these stocks. These quotas will apply for the first three months of the coming year. Most of these stocks were laid down based on a 25 percent carryover of the 2020 quotas. Exceptions with greater catch percentages will apply for mackerel, blue whiting and horse mackerel, as the main fishing for these stocks takes place at the beginning of the year.

Federal Fisheries Minister Julia Klöckner:

Our agreement on provisional quotas is a guarantee for our European fishers that they will be able to carry on fishing from 1 January. The important thing for us was sustainable management - we want to have fish stocks that can regenerate well. We are also aware that, in some regions, fisheries contribute to the sense of identity and are of huge economic importance. The socioeconomic issues must always be part of the sustainability debate. We have struck a good balance with these decisions.

In addition to the quotas for the North Sea and the north-east Atlantic, agreements were also reached on catch opportunities for specific deep-sea species and for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Provisional EU and German quotas (January to March 2021) for the main North Sea stocks - in brackets the percentage level compared with the 2020 quotas

StockEU quota
German quota
Herring (25 %)43,7939,851
Plaice (25 %)16,0481,294
Saithe (25 %)7,9352,079
Cod (25 %) 1,621396
Haddock (25 %) 1,099225
Mackerel (65 %)
(north-east Atlantic)
Blauer Wittling (65 %)
(north-east Atlantic)