This was a different kind of December Council in a number of important ways. Many delegations…
Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation
DECEMBER 2008 FISHERIES COUNCIL
The December Fisheries Council finished during Friday 19 December in Brussels, when the TACs and quotas for 2009 were finally agreed. The negotiations took place against the usual background of extreme and draconian proposals from the Commission for big reductions in a number key TACs and quotas for the CFPO.
Days at sea restrictions were successfully resisted during the November Council despite the Commission’s and French Presidency’s early attempts to bring their draconian regime into Area VII. The Trevose Closure remains in place for 2009 from 1 February to 31 March and was recognised by the Commission and UK officials as an important industry initiative.
Rollover TACs were secured for a number of important Area VII stocks for the CFPO including; Monk, Megrim, Pollock, Haddock, Saithe, and Ling. These were achieved against the Commissions original position of significant cuts across all of these stocks. The work put in throughout the year by several CFPO members involved in Fishery Science Partnerships (FSP) and the time and effort spent with officials both UK and European meant that our arguments were evidence based, clearly understood and were able to deliver our objectives.
The Cod b-k TAC has under gone a significant change it has been split into an e-k TAC and d TAC. The split was unavoidable due to scientific and political argument and in the end both elements were increased. However the final implications cannot be assessed fully until DEFRA agree the UK allocation mechanism. Meetings are planned for early January to clarify this and ensure a fair deal for the CFPO.
The 5% by-catch restriction for spurdogs was successfully removed for 2009, although the Commission have made it clear that this fishery will be kept under close review with their ultimate objective being a zero TAC. This was demonstrated by the reduction of the overall TAC by 50% for 2009.
There are likely to be significant problems with Porbeagles again next year. The Commission have reduced further the TAC for Porbeagle by 25% and to make this situation even worse the UK share is only around 2 tonnes. UK officials did raise the UK share with the Commission but were unable to secure any change. This is extremely concerning, in particular for our netters taking Porbeagle as a by catch.
A new TAC for Skates & Rays was introduced, we successfully argued that it be based on actual landings not the 15% reduction of landings that was proposed. The introduction of the TAC was unavoidable due to scientific and political arguments. However the final implications cannot be assessed until DEFRA agree the UK allocation mechanism. Meetings are planned for early January to clarify this and ensure a fair deal for CFPO members.
There was small decrease in the Hake TAC (-4.6%).
An increase in Sole VIIfg by 3% was the only success in Plaice and Sole quotas. The associated decrease in Plaice VIIfg was disappointing.
There was a significant cut of 15% in the sole VIIe TAC. It was difficult to credibly argue against this cut as it is subject to a long term management plan that was agreed during 2007.
One of the most disappointing outcomes was the reduction of the Sole and Plaice hjk by 15% on the ‘use it or lose’ policy. This approach was avoided on most of our stocks so this outcome was particularly mystifying
The December negotiations are becoming increasingly difficult with an ever growing political and green influence. However the CFPO and the NFFO team in Brussels deployed every scientific, economic and political argument at our disposal. Where successful this has been in part, at least, due to the work done by the NFFO, CFPO and its members through the FSP and the improved working relationship with scientists and policy makers.
The CFPO has already begun talks with DEFRA and other member states to secure additional quota through international and domestic swaps and transfers in an effort to maximise fishing opportunities for 2009.
A list of the important TAC and quota changes is attached for information. This is subject to amendment following post Council clarifications.
If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.
PROVISIONAL 2009 TAC CHANGES
Cod VIIe-k 3.9%
Cod VIId 29.2%
Haddock VIIb-k status quo
Whiting VIIb-k -15%
Monk status quo
Megrim status quo
Sole hjk -14.8%
Plaice hjk -15.5%
Sole e -15%
Plaice de -8%
Sole fg 3%
Plaice fg -14%
Pollock status quo
Saithe status quo
Ling status quo
Spurdog 5% by catch restriction removed ( TAC reduced by 50%)
Porbeagle 2t UK quota.
Skates & Rays VI & VII New TAC based on recent landings (no Skate to be landed)