In December 2013, the EU Council reached agreement on fishing opportunities for 2014 for EU vessels in Union and certain non-Union waters, and in March this year agreement was reached with Norway for shared stocks. Seafish has compared the headline ICES TAC advice with the Council agreed TAC in order to provide analysis for the principal EU stocks. Bill Lart, Sustainability and Data Advisor at Seafish said: “For the 69 stocks where we were able to make a full comparison, there are 32 stocks where the agreed TAC is either below or complies exactly with the headline ICES advice. Our analysis also shows that for the principal North Sea stocks of haddock, cod, herring and hake scientific advice is being followed very closely. “However, there are also 31 stocks where the Council TAC does not appear to follow headline ICES advice (in excess of 10 per cent). Those stocks where there is most deviation from the advised TAC are the stocks assessed by data limited methods. “The management of these data limited stocks are likely to improve over the coming years as methods are refined, and they become routinely considered by managers. “On the plus side there is a steady increase in the number of stocks for which quantitative advice is available and overall there is a continued improvement in the state of the stocks in Atlantic European waters. The number of overfished stocks (where the most recent fishing mortality is higher than that which will provide a Maximum Sustainable Yield) has fallen from 47 per cent in 2012 to 39 per cent in 2013, compared with a high of 94 per cent in 2007,” concluded Mr Lart. The summary is regularly used by the entire fishing supply chain in the UK as well as environmental groups and Government departments with vested interests in securing long term sustainable solutions to fishing.