UK decentralizes fisheries management


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 17, 2012

UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon on Friday introduced a new fisheries management scheme in which Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will possess greater authority to manage their own fishing quotas.

As part of the new agreement, each of the four nations will be allocated annually agreed shares of UK fishing quotas for distribution to their fleets, based on the number of vessels in each area and the quota they already hold. This will replace the existing system in which the UK government allocates shares directly to fishermen and to fishing organizations.

The idea, said Benyon, is to decentralize fisheries management within the UK. Benyon also favors doing so within the European Union, which he’s fighting for as negotiations into the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform carry out; CFP reform is due to be finalized next year.

“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,” said Benyon. “This agreement will also make it easier to manage fisheries across the UK and is a significant step forward for the fishing industry.

Welcoming the agreement are Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead, Alun Davies, Wales’ deputy minister for agriculture, food and fisheries, and Michelle O’Neill, Northern Ireland’s minister for agriculture and rural development.

“I welcome this agreement. It is a good step forward that allows administrations to advance the interests of their fleets and communities,” said Lochhead. “Scotland’s diverse fleet catches over two thirds of the UK’s quotas and makes a crucial contribution to the Scottish economy and the success of our coastal communities. The flexibility that this agreement offers will provide new opportunities to better support our vital fishing communities, developing solutions through co-management with our fishing industry. The Scottish Government also reiterates our commitment to meeting our international obligations.”

For the details of the agreement, click here.

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