Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Fisheries Council ends 2014 on something of a high compared to what might have been - commonsense prevails! #CFPreality

Although there will inevitably be cries of 'foul' from the NGOs and others involved in 'monitoring' and campaigning for the well-being of our waters, yesterday's fisheries council proceedings ended on a better note than many fishermen might have expected - hopefully because the delegates in Brussels can see how the results of years of fleet cuts and responsible fishing are seeing evidence of many stocks ate levels reminiscent of 20 or 30 years ago!
"THE UK government has delivered a fair deal for fishermen, according to Fisheries Minister George Eustice, striking the right balance between supporting businesses and conserving fish stocks.

The Minister's claim follows negotiations at the annual EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council where fishing quotas for 2015 were agreed.

The government entered negotiations facing challenging proposals from the Commission for precautionary reductions in the quotas of many stocks, but important increases were agreed for many parts of the UK's fishing fleet. This includes increases to cod and haddock in the North Sea, nephrops in the Celtic Sea, sole in the Western Channel and monkfish and haddock in the West of Scotland.

According to the Minister: "Where the latest scientific evidence supported it we were also able to lobby against unjustifiable cuts proposed by the Commission. Instead we ensured quotas were looked at on a case-by-case basis, achieving a rollover of current 2014 catch levels to provide stability for the fishermen who rely on these species, including skates and rays around the UK.

"The government also successfully resisted further reductions to days at sea under the cod recovery plan. This will give fishermen the time they need to fish more selectively and avoid discarding perfectly good fish.

"Finally, despite pressing hard for measures to address declining sea bass levels, we were disappointed not to leave negotiations with an agreement on specific measures to tackle this issue. The UK government has led on action to improve these stocks and has now secured a commitment from the Commission to work with Member States to reduce fishing pressure at the start of the season in 2015."

He added: "Although these were difficult negotiations, I am pleased that we were able to secure the best possible deal to ensure sustainable fisheries and a strong UK fishing industry."

Given the start of the pelagic discard ban in January 2015 the UK also ensured next year's total allowable catch took into account the ban on discarding fish, a crucial agreement following UK-led reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy last year. In addition a commitment was obtained from the Commission to undertake research to improve flexibility, allowing fishermen to use quota across regions in light of the discard ban and increased selectivity."

Full story courtesy of FishNewsEU

The UK also successfully negotiated a number of further concessions. These include:

•Days at sea kept at 2014 levels rather than reduced.

•Increased quota for fishermen in many areas, including the following:

•North Sea: 5% cod,15% Nephrops (prawns), 15% plaice

•North Sea and West Scotland : 6% haddock, 20% angler (monkfish)

•Irish Sea: Nephrops (prawns) 3%

•Around the UK: hake 11%

Reducing cuts to a number of important fish quotas by providing sound scientific evidence to the Council. Including: 

•Celtic Sea: 64% cut to cod reduced to 26% and 41% cut to haddock reduced to 12%

•Eastern Channel: 60% cut to sole reduced to 28%

•Bristol Channel: 35% cut to sole reduced to 15%

As well as maintaining 2014 quotas for a number of stocks, including:

•Irish Sea: haddock

•South West: angler (monkfish), megrim

•Bristol Channel: plaice

•North Sea: megrim, dab and flounder, sole and ling

And accepting proposals for cuts where necessary to protect stocks, including:

•Celtic Sea: 30% cut to herring, 26% cut to cod and 12% •North Sea: 5% herring, 15% saithe.