Bulgarian and Romanian fishermen will be able to continue fishing at the same levels as in 2018, following EU agreement on 2019 catch quotas for the commercially most important fish stocks in the Black Sea.

The regulation affects Bulgaria and Romania.

In particular, the Council decided to confirm the Commission proposal to roll-over the catch limit for sprat for Romania and Bulgaria at 11,475t.

For turbot, the Council set a total allowable catch (TAC) fully in line with the level established by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) in its recommendation on a multi-annual management plan for the whole Black Sea turbot fisheries (644t), resulting in an EU TAC of 114t which is equally shared between Bulgaria and Romania.

Fishing will be limited to 180 days per year and there will be a complete ban over a 2-month period (15 April - 15 June) to allow for the recovery of turbot.

The figures are based on scientific advice from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), and comply with the principles of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Black Sea stocks exploited by Bulgaria and Romania are shared with non-EU countries, including Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia and the Russian Federation. Until 2017 no TACs had been decided at regional level between EU and non-EU countries, and every year since 2008, the European Union had been fixing autonomous quotas for turbot and sprat stocks in order to help ensure that the CFP rules were applied.

The interested parties once more recognised the importance of continuing with the implementation of a robust monitoring, control and surveillance system in order to achieve sustainable management of fish resources in the Black Sea, and renewed their commitment to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing of turbot in the Black Sea.

The regulation will enter into force on the day after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and will apply as from 1 January 2019.