Agreement on Fishing Opportunities for 2024 Reached by EU Member States

Today, the member states of the European Union (EU) have reached an agreement on fishing opportunities for marine fisheries in 2024. The agreement outlines the allowable catch for various fish stocks in the EU member states.


  1. Annual Fishing Agreements:
    • Each December, the EU negotiates agreements determining the amount of fish each member state can catch in European seas, known as fishing quotas.
    • Separate agreements are made with non-EU countries on fishing opportunities and access to each other’s waters.
  2. Key Species for the Netherlands:
    • For the Dutch fishing sector, species such as sole, plaice, herring, and horse mackerel are crucial.
    • Minister Piet Adema emphasizes the importance of balancing scientific advice for maintaining healthy fish stocks with considering the socio-economic impact on the fishing industry.
  3. Tong Fishery:
    • Negotiations between the EU Commission and the United Kingdom concluded on December 8.
    • An agreement stipulates a 60% reduction in tong (sole) fishing compared to 2023, aligning with scientific advice for the conservation of sole in the North Sea.
    • The Netherlands, along with other countries, calls for better consideration of socio-economic effects and urges the European Commission to address this.
  4. Eel Fishery:
    • The European eel population is in a critical state.
    • The closed period for eel remains unchanged for the Netherlands, including the current closed period from September to November and three additional months that the Netherlands can determine within specified conditions.
    • Closed periods for glass eel catches are also set for 2024.
  5. Mackerel Fishery:
    • Due to the expiration of the EU’s Access Agreement with Norway, Denmark couldn’t fish its quota in Norwegian waters.
    • EU member states, including the Netherlands, reached new agreements, making previously unused mackerel fishing opportunities available.
    • This benefits Dutch fishermen, allowing them to catch more mackerel.
  6. Quota System:
    • The EU’s annual decisions on total catch quantities for the upcoming year are based on multi-year management plans and scientific advice from ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea).
    • The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for each stock is negotiated, and individual member states are then allocated quotas based on a fixed distribution key.

The outcomes of these negotiations play a crucial role in shaping the fishing industry’s activities and sustainability measures in European waters.