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In this joint NGO letter, we highlight our concerns to the Commission about the lack of progress made and ambition displayed so far by the regional North Western Waters Member State Group in the development of bycatch reduction plans for five vulnerable fish stocks which received scientific advice for zero catches for 2019. Despite this advice, non-zero bycatch TACs were granted for these stocks for 2019, based on the condition that the regional Member State Group would develop long-term bycatch reduction plans by 30 April 2019 in order to minimise bycatches of these stocks and ultimately improve their situation.
Since the information shared and consultation with the North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) on this topic has been very limited to date, the environmental NGOs participating in the NWWAC therefore sent this letter to the Commission, to seek clarification on the next steps and on any potential Commission intervention to address the worrying lack of progress regarding the development of the bycatch reduction plans. The letter was co-signed by ClientEarth, Pew Charitable Trusts, Marine Conservation Society, Oceana, Dutch Elasmobranch Society, BirdWatch Ireland, BirdLife International, Seas At Risk, Fundacio ENT and the Irish Seal Sanctuary.