Management of fishing quotas to be devolved

All four nations within the UK will be given greater power to manage their own fishing quotas following an agreement that has just been reached, Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon announced today. Under the agreement, the UK, Scottish and Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive will each be allocated shares, agreed annually, of UK fish quotas for distribution to their fleets. These will be based on the number of boats in each area and the quota they already receive. However, there will be no permanent split of UK quota; fishing vessels will be free to move their operations to other parts of the UK. The new arrangements will replace the present system where the UK Government allocates quota directly to fishermen and to fish producer organisations that manage quotas. This will allow each country to adapt quota allocations to best suit fleets in different parts of the UK. Arrangements for the licensing and administration of fishing vessels will also be clearer as a result of the agreement, and arrangements for the management of the UK’s fishing effort (“days at sea”) under the EU’s Cod Recovery Plan will be formalised.

Richard Benyon, UK Fisheries Minister, said: “By giving each nation greater control of quotas we will all be able to be more flexible on how quota is allocated to individual boats. This will enable the UK to move quota around to where it is needed and as a result we hope to see a reduction in discards. “This agreement will also make it easier to manage fisheries across the UK and is a significant step forward for the fishing industry”. Read more on the DeFRA website…