NFFO Welcomes Final Agreement on North Sea Quota But Says Delay Has Caused Serious Difficulties For Fleets

13th March 2014 in Europe / Common Fisheries Policy, TACs and Quotas

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) has welcomed last night’s agreement on North Sea quota but says the three month delay in reaching the agreement has caused serious economic difficulties for may fleets against a backdrop of crippling financial pressures caused by the recent storms

The NFFO’s chief executive, Barrie Deas, said: “After many false starts and delays, agreement has now been reached with Norway on a reciprocal deal for 2014. This means that EU vessels can now fish in the Norwegian zone of the North Sea and TACs have been settled for joint stocks.

“The 5 per cent quota increase on North Sea cod is welcomed and more than justified by scientific research on stock levels, but in our view EU Norway are arguably playing a pretty conservative game given the problems faced with the stock in the past. Nevertheless, cod stocks continue to grow steadily and we look forward to further quota increases in future years.”

The spectacular rebuilding of North Sea plaice stock is another area of good news, reflected in a fifteen per cent increase in quota and is evidence of the successful management practices delivered by both scientists and the industry.

According to the NFFO, the 15 per cent reduction in haddock, whiting and saithe reflect the management plans in place and natural fluctuations in stock levels - reductions which have been significantly modified by quota transfers from Germany.

Mr Deas added: “These negotiations have been highly convoluted due to their entanglement with the mackerel dispute between Faroe and Iceland. We understand that simultaneously, a trilateral deal on mackerel has been reached between EU, Norway and Faroe, with scope for this to be extended to Iceland quite soon, once outstanding issues relating to Greenland have been resolved.”

The key points in the EU Norway agreement are:

  • An increase in the North Sea Cod TAC by 5%; this is in contrast to the proposed reduction of 9%. This provides a TAC in 2014 of 27,799t
  • The TAC for North Sea Haddock remains as per the management plan -15% (16,092t), although the EU has secured a transfer of haddock from Norway of 2600t which mitigates the reduction to -6% (18,692t)
  • Similarly in whiting, the TAC has been maintained as per the management plan -15% (38,284t) although a transfer from Norway to the EU of 750t mitigates the reduction to -8% (39,034t) – a revised management plan with an (f) of 0.15 is to be sent to ICES for evaluation
  • The TAC for Saithe has been set per the management plan at 77,536t (-15%); there is to be inter-annual flexibility from 2014 onwards. Of that some 8,045t is allocated to area Via
  • The TAC for plaice has been set per the management plan at 111,631t (+15%) The transfer of plaice from Norway to the EU has reduced from 700t to 300t. There is to be inter-annual flexibility from 2014 onwards.
  • The uplift of cod to operate the FDF scheme has been maintained at a level of 12% of the TAC.
  • The TAC for Norwegian others has been increased from 6,500t to 7,250t an increase of 11.5%
  • The transfer of ling from the EU to Norway has been reduced from 6,140t to 5,500 and the transfer of Ling from Norway to the EU has increased from 850t to 950t.
  • The Amount of Cod secured for EU vessels at North Norway has increased from 18,202 in to 2013 to 20,524 in 2014. The amount of haddock secured has decreased from 1,500t to 1200t
  • 100,000t of Blue whiting was used to secure the transfer from Norway; this contrasts quite significantly with the 45,000t used the previous year.