* Measures seek to limit overfishing in Baltic
* Denmark, Sweden, Germany are the main fishing nations
By Julia Fioretti
BRUSSELS, Sept 3 The European Commission
proposed on Wednesday halving the catches of cod in the Baltic
Sea next year to support dwindling stocks while increasing those
Overall, the catch limits of all types of fish would amount
to a 12 percent increase to 629,000 tonnes given successful
efforts over the past years to help Europe's fish stocks
recover, said the Commission, the EU executive.
But it proposed reducing the catches of western cod by 48
percent and those of some wild salmon in the Baltic by 15
percent, after cutting them by over half for 2014.
Denmark, Germany, Poland and Sweden will have the biggest
fishing quotas for cod in the Baltic Sea in 2015. For salmon,
Denmark, Finland, Latvia and Sweden have the largest quotas.
Despite some progress in protecting fish stocks, 75 percent
of European fish stocks are overfished, compared with a
worldwide average of 25 percent, the European Union says.
The Mediterranean is particularly bad, with more than 90
percent of the stocks overfished. There has been some progress
in limiting overfishing in the Baltic and the Atlantic.
"The Baltic Sea is a positive example in Europe: each year,
more and more stocks are reaching a sustainable level," said
Helene Banner, spokeswoman for maritime affairs and fisheries at
"Further efforts are needed so that we also safeguard the
cod stocks in the Baltic."
Some herring catches would be increased by 12 percent under
the Commission's proposals.
The limits will be discussed by EU ministers in October, and
if agreed would apply as of Jan. 1 next year.
EU restrictions on the size of catches regularly produce
heated debate. In August, the EU lifted its year-long ban on
imports of herring and mackerel from the Faroe Islands, ending a
dispute over accusations of overfishing in the northern
(Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)