The European Commission has proposed to avoid the complete closure of some fisheries by consolidating the measures currently in place for certain cod stocks, extending them to other endangered stocks, and proposing a substantial reduction in fishing possibilities for stocks newly identified as being in danger.

These measures would ensure continuity of economic activity in the fisheries concerned while giving depleted stocks a reasonable chance of recovery and protecting those in better condition, the Commission said.

"The choice is clear: either TACs (total allowable catches) must be severely reduced and fishing effort restricted on an annual basis or long-term recovery plans must be set up allowing for less drastic and more coherent measures. I favour the latter," said Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries.

Recovery plans contain a long-term strategy with defined targets for rebuilding stocks to safe biological levels over a number of years. TACs are set according to an agreed formula within this framework, allowing for a less restrictive approach than under annual decisions. Restriction of fishing effort is a crucial tool in recovery plans. Pending the adoption of such plans, lower fishing possibilities and provisional effort management schemes are essential to protect endangered stocks, the Commission said.

Further details on the plans can be found here.