TACS and Quotas for 2010

3rd July 2009 in TACs and Quotas

The process of establishing Total Allowable Catches and Quotas for 2010 has begun with the publication of ICES scientific advice and a statement from the Commission which outlines the approach it will be adopting when it comes to make its proposals around November.

A full NFFO team, drawn from all sea areas in which we fish, attended a briefing meeting with Cefas scientists on 1st July in London. Although the stock trends in many fisheries were reported to be in a positive direction, the discussion naturally was most intense on those fisheries where the science has signalled problems, or where the assessments are so week that ICES has declined to give them analytical status.

North Sea whiting, Irish Sea cod and nephrops, and Western Channel sole are fisheries facing particular difficulties this year, although there is still a great deal of uncertainty in many fisheries where the data used by the scientists is poor.

For the first time ICES made use of NFFO Annual Fisheries Reports produced by the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation. This is the first attempt to introduce systematically compiled interview information and knowledge from the fishing industry into the ICES process. Data from fisheries science partnerships in which NFFO vessels are involved, the North Sea stocks survey which in England is coordinated by the NFFO, and personal statements from skippers in the North Sea whiting fishery, were also used by the scientists.

An intense scrutiny of the stock assessments and discussion of how the UK should approach the autumn negotiations will now begin. The NFFO will play an active part in a meeting between the RACs and the Commission towards the end of July. Despite now laying out its stall earlier in the year there is still much confusion as to which of the Commissions 13 categories each stock will fall into and consequently how it will be treated in the Commission’s final proposal.

The cod fisheries are still likely to dominate the autumn negotiations given the pervasive effect of cod recovery measures in a wide range of fisheries which catch cod.