Member State report / Art14 / 2022 / D3 / Lithuania / Baltic Sea

Report type Member State report to Commission
MSFD Article Art. 14 Exceptions (and Art. 17 updates)
Report due 2022-10-15
GES Descriptor D3 Commercial fish and shellfish
Member State Lithuania
Region/subregion Baltic Sea
Reported by Enviromenmental protection agency
Report date 2023-06-12
Report access 363

Marine reporting units
  • BAL-LT-AA-03
  • BAL-LT-MS-01
Region subregion
Baltic Sea
Exception code
Exception old code
Exception name
Išimtis dėl komerciniams tikslams naudojamų žuvų (menkių) populiacijos eksploatavimo
Exception type
Art. 14(1)(e)
Exception reason
GES achieved
later than 2033
Relevant pressures
  • Extraction of, or mortality/injury to, wild species (by commercial and recreational fishing and other activities)
Relevant targets
GES component
  • D3C2 Spawning stock biomass (SSB) (3.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.2)
Relevant features
  • Commercially exploited fish and shellfish
Justification description
The GES for spawning stock biomass shall be determined by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea in its working groups. The GES is considered to be equal to Bmsy, but when Bmsy is not or cannot be calculated then Bmsy_target, Bpa values can be used as indicative GES values. There is currently no BMSY for eastern cod (ICES, 2019). However, the spawning biomass for eastern cod has been set at: BPA 116 402 t (ICES, 2021a) and real spawning biomass levels for eastern cod are calculated as follows: 78 382 t in 2 019.72532 t in 2 020.60366 t in 2021 (ICES, 2021b), all below Bpa (116 402 t) and followed a trend downward trend. The poor state of eastern Baltic cod is explained by advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES, 2021b) and is believed to be mainly due to changes in biological stocks over recent decades. Growth, immersion (weight by length) and length when cod matures significantly decreased. These developments show that stocks are in a state of stress, which has reduced its reproductive potential. Natural mortality has increased significantly and is much higher than in previous years, while fishing mortality is close to 0. The low growth of cod, malnutrition and high natural mortality are linked to changes in the ecosystem, which include: (I) poor oxygen conditions that may affect cod, both directly by altering its metabolism, and indirectly due to the lack of benthic hydrobiode required for nutrition, as well as larvae survival; (II) reduced availability of fish for nutritional purposes in the main area of distribution of cod. In recent years, the high abundance of sprat and herring has been observed in the north of the Baltic Sea and to a lesser extent overlaps with the distribution of cod stocks than in the past. However, it is not clear whether such a change in distribution has an impact on the limited remaining cod stocks. (III) high levels of infection with parasites; this coincides with a significant increase in the abundance of grey seals, which are the ultimate hosts of parasites. It is also unknown whether the parasitic infection is the cause or consequence of the poor status of cod. These factors are all interlinked and their overall impact on cod stocks is unclear (ICES, 2021b). Directed fisheries for eastern cod, with minor exceptions, are banned throughout the Baltic Sea from 2020 to 2022 (Council Regulation (EU), 2019; Council Regulation (EU), 2020; Council Regulation (EU) 2021), so resources were not actually exploited. We believe that all states in the Baltic Sea region have done what is possible to improve the status of eastern cod by reducing fishing mortality to almost 0. Taking into account the trends in the state of the stocks, as well as the fact that the poor state of the stock is due to changes in biological resources and that fishing mortality is reduced to almost 0, we ask for an exception to the descriptor D3 (D3C2 – spawning stock biomass for eastern cod) and the environmental objective of “Ensure that the exploitation intensity of commercially exploited fish populations remains within safe biological limits and to preserve the structure of the Baltic Sea nutrient network”.
Spatial scope geographic zones
Territorial waters,EEZ (or similar)
Measures ad hoc
Further information
About new excemptions (on the page 182):