The UK government is seeking views on new measures to boost the country’s fishing industry, including how to fairly distribute the new opportunities from leaving the common fisheries policy, and increase the economic benefits from fishing activity for coastal communities.
It has launched a package of consultations which seek views on:
- A strengthened ‘economic link’ for English licensed fishing vessels to help ensure genuine economic benefits for coastal communities — including plans for an increased landing requirement of 70%
- Proposals on how to divide the new opportunities the UK secures in negotiations with other partners between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, in a way that is fairer and more profitable for fishing communities across the four nations
- Further proposals on how England’s share of those new opportunities would be distributed across the English fleet to benefit coastal communities’ fishermen and women
“As we take back control of our fisheries, we are creating new powers to set fairer fishing opportunities for industry and coastal communities through our flagship fisheries bill,” said fisheries minister Victoria Prentis.
“We want your help to design a more profitable fishing industry. This includes ensuring that more fish are landed in UK ports, providing a boost to the whole supply chain, from auction houses to fish processors.”
The strengthened ‘economic link’ proposals put forward for consultation would see English licensed fishing vessels land 70% of their catch in the UK — up from 50%. The plans would allow vessel owners to use a combination of the two criteria — landings and quota donation — to meet the economic link requirement, recognizing the importance of flexibility to support ongoing business practices, the government said.
As the UK continues to negotiate with the EU and other coastal states, the UK government is seeking views on how new opportunities secured through these negotiations should be distributed, both across the UK and within England, in order to deliver maximum benefits to our fleets and coastal communities.
The three consultations are open from today for four weeks, until Nov. 10.
You can find the consultation on apportioning additional quota by country here; the survey on quota allocation and management in 2021 and beyond here; and the one on fisheries economic link license condition in England here.
Proposals in more detail
On the question of the “economic link” in England, the government said its proposal to increase the landing requirement from 50% to 70% for quota caught by English registered vessels landing more than 2 metric tons per annum would leave vessels with “two strengthened routes to demonstrating a link to the UK economy, as well as the flexibility to use a combination of the two”.
“Based on estimates for the past three years, if all English vessels met the proposed 70% landing requirement it could result in up to £60 million worth of additional landings each year.”
However, this is likely to be an over-estimation, it said.
“In addition, it may not be realistic to expect the majority of vessels that currently land their catch outside the UK to change their behavior significantly, at least in the short term, given the potential economic, geographic or resource benefits of their existing arrangements. If vessels do not land 70% of their catch into UK ports, they would either be obliged to use the quota transfer requirement, or to use a combination of landings and quota criteria to meet the license condition.”
When it comes to additional quota — the extra quota the UK aims to secure in the future now it has left the EU and will be negotiating as an independent coastal state — the government said its aim was to share any new quota fairly with benefits realized across the UK.
“All administrations [England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland] should gain as a result of us leaving the EU. Among other things, we will consider both the needs and track record of the existing fleet as well as the potential opportunities for industry to develop elsewhere.”
“We would like your views on how we split additional quota between the four administrations in 2021.” It has made four proposals, though welcomes further suggestions, it said:
- Option one: Sharing additional quota by the geographic location of the stocks. This would mean using zonal attachment which better reflects where the fish
- Option two: Sharing based on historic uptake. This would take account of previous landings by vessels registered in each administration
- Option three: Sharing based on the capacity of the fleet in each administration. For example, allocating quota in proportion to the number of vessels or gross tonnage or gross engine power of the vessels registered in each administration
- Option four: Sharing the additional quota according to the policy priorities of each
administration. For example, if one administration were looking to bolster their industry in a particular area, relevant quota could be allocated to it
- Option five: A hybrid of the above, which is likely to be complex
Aims include the fair distribution of fishing opportunities, maximizing economic investment and returns, and incentivizing good behavior.
Considered options include fixed quota allocation units; equal distribution between sector and non-sector; track record, and capacity.
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