Fishing Quota Allocation: Developing a new approach for allocating additional fishing quota in England
Defra have consulted on how any additional quota, obtained as the UK renegotiates its…
TACs and Quotas for 2010
This year’s quota negotiations were unusual in two respects. Firstly, the breakdown of the EU Norway negotiations in December meant that only interim TACs could be set for North Sea shared stocks like cod, haddock, whiting, saithe and plaice, pending the resumption of talks and presumable agreement with Norway in the New Year. These provisional TACs have been set at 65% of 2009 levels.
Secondly, the elephant in the sitting room is the major reduction in days at sea for vessels in the cod recovery zone; this was not even discussed at the Council because Ministers last year signed up to a three year cod recovery plan with automatic reductions linked to biomass levels. The Irish Sea and West of Scotland face further 25% reductions whilst the North Sea faces a 10% cut. The Celtic Sea remains outside the cod recovery plan.
In terms of TACs not covered by EU Norway, we saw the now familiar process through which member states try to fend off the most brutal elements in the Commission’s proposals, using a mix of science, socio-economic arguments, tactical manoeuvring and deployment of scarce political capital.
The December Council is a fundamentally flawed process that allows, indeed promotes, strange linkages between wholly unrelated issues. The conclusion of the Council was delayed for something like 12 hours whilst Spain tried to secure an advantage in the integration of the southern component of the mackerel fishery into an overall mackerel agreement. As a result, a wide range of UK issues were put on hold until the very last stages of the Council negotiations and the outcomes may have been affected as a result.
This Council therefore again underscored the clear need to move towards regional decision-making at sea-basin level, where unrelated issues can be decoupled and a more sensible approach to setting catch limits within long term management plans can evolve.
NFFO and UK Priorities
The NFFO’s and UK’s priorities were only partly achieved.
As always, much detail will emerge from the negotiations in coming weeks and days. We will circulate full details to members as we receive them