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EU announces cuts in Baltic catches of herring, cod

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union imposed cuts in catches of cod and herring in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, to make sure both threatened stock and the region’s fishing fleet have a chance of survival.

The sea off several of the EU’s northern member states has been suffering from pollution, high water temperatures and too many vessels chasing too few fish over the past years, pushing EU ministers to impose some tougher measures.

Under the measures catches for Western cod, once abundant, will be cut by 88% next year while Eastern Baltic cod will be kept at a highly reduced level, down 70% compared with two years ago.

Western herring will be cut in half for the second year running and Central herring was cut by 45%.

“The decisions reached are difficult, but necessary, so that the Baltic Sea can remain the source of livelihood,” said EU Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius.

Although some environmental groups applauded the measures, Andrea Ripol of Seas At Risk said it “may come too late.” She added that “this will not prevent the looming collapse of the Baltic ecosystem, with iconic fish populations vanishing right in front of our eyes.”

Some quotas for other, more secure, stocks were increased.

The top fishing nations in the Baltics are Finland, Sweden and Poland.

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