Low quotas over several years due to a critical decline in cod and herring stocks challenge both commercial and recreational fisheries financially with declining revenues and fewer angler tourists fishing for cod. Representatives from the business community, the research establishment, municipalities, green organisations, and politicians are being gathered by the Danish government to lay the groundwork for an action plan for future fisheries in the Baltic Sea. Although fishing pressure has eased considerably since 2000 and quotas are the lowest in many years, cod and herring stocks in the Baltic have declined to the point where the future of fishing in the Baltic Sea is uncertain.
In 2019, a report from the University of Copenhagen’s Institute for Food and Resource Economics (IFRO) calculated that revenues for Danish fishermen in the Baltic Sea area would fall from DKK 286 million to DKK 241 million, if quotas were set as low as expected at the time. In addition, it found that vessels under 15 meters would be the most challenged by the low quotas, as it is more difficult for small vessels to switch to other species.
The Commission had, inter alia, proposed to reduce cod quotas in the western Baltic by 68 percent and herring quotas by 71 percent. In Denmark, the negotiations ended with the cod quota being reduced by 60 per cent and the herring quota being reduced by 65 per cent. The Minister announced a forthcoming compensation scheme of DKK 10 million to fishermen catching cod and herring in the Baltic Sea. It allows them to seek funds to cover financial losses. From the stakeholders being gathered he anticipates hearing proposals for fishing for new species such as beach crabs, new innovative cooperation plans between chefs, fishermen and local eateries, but also concrete proposals such as renovations of ports and fish factories. Based on the suggestions a working group will draw up an action plan which is expected after the summer, when it will be discussed politically.