Guernsey Fiasco Requires Tough Line

1st May 2015 in Domestic Fisheries Policy

The continuing fiasco through which vessels registered in Guernsey, with the collusion of the Guernsey authorities, ignore non-sector catch limits set by the MMO but have their catches count against UK quotas, has still not been resolved.

Guernsey Fiasco Requires Tough Line

The NFFO wrote to UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, at the beginning of March to highlight the damage that was being done to the UK non-sector skates and rays allocations by unrestricted catches by Guernsey vessels. He responded in robust terms but to date there has been no sign of a resolution.

The potential remains for unrestricted catches to destroy any prospect of rational quota management and to seriously prejudice the interests of other fishermen operating in the non-sector.

The State of Guernsey Fisheries authorities have sought to defend the indefensible and assert that the MMO quota limits do not apply to them, notwithstanding a management agreement that implies exactly that.

This will now be an issue at the top of the list for any incoming minister to deal with. It is clear that Guernsey is acting outside the law. It has provided no coherent or adequate justification for its actions. Whether through Westminster powers, or through some kind of interim order through the European Court, this is a matter that must be addressed as a matter of urgency.