Namely, NGOs pointed out that it is crucial that ministers will make sure that fishing opportunities for 2019 will not exceed scientifically advised levels and that the Maximum Sustainable Yield objective is to be achieved for all stocks by 2020 at the latest.

According to that, the Common Fisheries Policy has published its objectives, which are:

● The Total Allowable Catches that are set should not exceed scientifically advised level and not to surpass precautionary approach catch limits where MSY-based reference points are not available;

● Setting TACs for stocks below the International Council for the Exploration the Sea single species catch advice when considering mixed fishery interactions, to make sure that no stocks in a mixed fishery are fished exceeding FMSY;

● Taking a precautionary approach when setting TACs for stocks where there is no scientific advice on maximum catches. This includes the setting of precautionary fishing limits and extra measures to limit the risk of overfishing, as well as enhanced monitoring and data collection for the stocks concerned;

● Introducing measures for all non-TAC stocks that aim to ensure each stock’s recovery and sustainable exploitation in line with the CFP objectives, as in recovery plans. Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Moreover, correctly implement the landing obligation by:

● Setting TACs not exceeding ICES advice on catches; and in the absence of advice on catches or in cases where a full exemption from the LO applies, to set TACs not exceeding ICES advice on landings;

● Ensuring reliable and robust methods of full catch documentation, such as observers or remote electronic monitoring, are in place, CCTV on vessels identified as being at medium, high or very high risk of non-compliance with the landing obligation, and especially where exemptions from the LO are applied;

● Not removing TACs or adding species to the prohibited species list in order to avoid the full implementation of the LO;

● Putting in place appropriate measures and safeguards to fulfil the MSY objective of the CFP, as well as robust methods of full catch documentation for fleets catching the relevant stocks where TACs are nevertheless removed or prohibitions are put in place;

● Establishing additional safeguards and measures if agreeing to proposed 'bycatch TACs' for stocks with zero catch advice, including clear conditions and timelines.

Finally, enhance the transparency and accountability of the TAC-setting process by:

● Providing clear justifications and sound scientific and/or socio-economic evidence in the cases where TACs are set above levels advised by ICES, and documenting in a clear and detailed manner the steps taken to reach agreement on a given TAC, including the information and considerations used when setting TACs for stocks subject to a mismatch between TAC management units and scientific advice;

● Making all of the above information, as well as comprehensive and detailed minutes of the Council negotiations publicly available as soon as the TACs have been agreed. We provide more detailed explanations and TAC recommendations for a range of stocks in the annexes to this letter.