The European Commission’s advisory group, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF), has recommended that “no alternative management measures short of closure should be considered at this time” for anchovy fishing in the Bay of Biscay.

In view of this advice, the Commission Services will shortly launch an internal procedure to extend the current three-month ban, effective until 2 October, from 3 October until 31 December 2005. The intention is to propose a zero total allowable catch for anchovy in the area, for 2006, until independent data, based on surveys to be carried out in the Autumn and next Spring, provide reliable estimates of the quantities of young and adult anchovies.

STECF has confirmed that the stock of anchovy is well below biological safe levels and that the quantities of young fish joining the stock this year is far lower than ever observed before. European Union aid is available under the Fisheries Fund (the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance, or FIFG) to help fishermen affected by temporary closures such as this one. The fleets concerned by this ban come from France and Spain.

The current temporary closure was established last July following a recommendation from the independent International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), last spring, for an immediate ban to protect and help the recovery of the anchovy stock in the Bay of Biscay.