December Council TACs and Quotas for 2009

22nd December 2008 in Europe / Common Fisheries Policy, TACs and Quotas

Key features of the December settlement for Fishing Grounds

Headline Summary

North Sea

The key features of the December settlement for the North Sea are:

  • Endorsement of the EU Norway agreement with a 30% increase in the TAC for North Sea Cod along with associated measures including a ban on high grading; a 13%increase in the TAC for plaice in line with the long term management plan. Modest cuts in haddock and saithe TACs, also in line with long term management plans.
  • A reduction of 5% in the TAC for nephrops. Minimising the proposed reductions in nephrops was a was a top UK priority
  • An overall reduction of 10% in the UK quota for whiting. ICES advice was for a 67% reduction; this was moderated to a 15% cut in the EU Norway talks and by invoking the Hague Preference at 30% rather than as last year 20%, for the UK the cut was reduced to 10%. The Minister has indicated that around 600 tonnes on the “additional “ H.P. quota will be allocated to the under 10 metre fleet.
  • It was possible to turn 10% reductions on stocks like lemon sole, turbot and brill, dabs and flounder to a rollover.
  • Dogfish and Porbeagle: A proposal for a Zero TAC for spurdog was replaced with a 50% reduction for 2008 along with a Commission declaration that a reduction to Zero along with a 10% bycatch provision will follow next year. In the meantime a minimum landing size of 100cms will apply. Similarly a proposal for a Zero TAC was replaced with a 25% reduction and a 210cm minimum landing size.
  • An allocation of Southern North Sea herring at 13% was secured.

Irish Sea

Given the severe effect of the new cod recovery plan on the Irish Sea it was imperative to secure our key objectives. In the event, with the UK and Ireland holding out to the 11th hour the agreed TACs were:

  • A 2% reduction in the nephrops TAC (-15% proposal)
  • A 25% reduction in the TAC for cod in line with the new Cod Recovery Plan
  • A 15% increase in the haddock TAC and a new stand alone VIIa quota
  • A 25% cut in the TAC for whiting
  • A 23% cut in the plaice TAC despite very positive science
  • A 25% cut in the Sole TAC

In recognition of the severe cuts imposed this year the UK both counter invoked the Hague Preference where this was an option and obtained transfers from other member states to offset the impact to some degree. The Federation also understands that the Northern Irish Assembly is to make available a package of support measures for the Northern Irish Fleet, including relief from light dues and harbour dues.

Celtic Sea/ Bristol Channel

  • Rollovers were achieved in the economically important monkfish and megrim fisheries.
  • The reduction in the hake fishery was limited to 5%
  • The Commission’s crude and counterproductive “use it or lose it” approach seems to have been put into reverse on a range of stocks including VII haddock, Pollack, megrim and ling.
  • A TAC for Skates and Rays was established but without the proposed 15% cut. So far as the UK is concerned there are outstanding data issues affecting our share that need to be resolved
  • The TAC for cod was split to establish a separate TAC for VII d but the methodology has not yet been made explicit
  • The TAC for Spurdog and Porbeagle moved away from the Zero proposed to a 50% reduction for the former and a 25% cut for the latter with associated technical measures. A Zero TAC would simply have meant an increase in discards

English Channel

  • Significant cuts in the sole and plaice quotas
  • A 30% increase in the Eastern Channel cod TAC

West of Scotland

A closure of the west of Scotland demersal fisheries was avoided. In its place a package of technical measures has been agreed with the aim of rebuilding the cod stocks whilst maintaining fisheries on economically important fisheries in the area that are fished sustainably. Details are not yet available.