KLAIPEDA – Baltic fishermen are staging a picket in Lithuania's Baltic Sea resort of Palanga on Friday as the European Commission is considering reducing sprat and herring quotas for 2024.
From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., fishermen from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland are picketing at a Palanga hotel where European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius is hosting the international Our Baltic Conference on the future of the Baltic Sea.
The picket is aimed at drawing attention to a reduction of sprat and herring quotas that is currently being discussed by the Commission.
Businesses say the proposed cuts run counter to scientists' recommendations and EU member states' positions.
Algirdas Ausra, director of Baltijos Zvejas (Baltic Fisherman), an association of fishermen and fish processors, says such reductions would devastate the Baltic Sea fishing industry and would only benefit Russian fishermen who are not subject to these restrictions.
"The decision would primarily benefit Russian fishermen in the Baltic Sea, because the EC quotas do not apply to Russia," Ausra told BNS.
"Sprat and herring are widely supplied to Ukraine, so it cannot be ruled out that such a ban would be beneficial not only to Russian fishermen but also in the broader context of Russian politics," he added.
Ausra said that two groups of 15 fishermen each were planning to take part in the picket because the Palanga municipality had not granted permission for a gathering of 100 people.