UK secures large quota increases at Brussels talks
Fishermen in the United Kingdom will be allowed to catch significantly more North Sea cod and haddock and Channel plaice next year, following successful negotiations at the annual EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council in Brussels, Belgium.
According to the U.K. Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), decisions at this year’s council were based on three clear principles: following the available scientific advice; achieving sustainable levels of fishing and reducing discards.
As a result of U.K.-led reforms to ensure EU fisheries become more sustainable, the scientific evidence for many of the country’s key species has been positive this year, which has resulted in it being able to secure big quota increases for valuable fish such as:
• English Channel: 80 percent more plaice
• North Sea: 15 percent more cod and 47 percent more haddock
• Celtic Sea: 20 more hake
• Western Channel: 15 percent more sole
“These negotiations are the culmination of months of government-led work to secure the best possible deal for the U.K. fishing industry, and the tough decisions we’ve taken to manage fishing and recover fish stocks are paying off; this is a great December Council result for UK fishermen,” said George Eustice, U.K. fisheries minister.
“I entered these discussions with the firm belief that any decisions need to support a profitable fishing industry, sustainable fish stocks and a healthy marine environment, and the significant quota increases we’ve achieved for iconic species like North Sea cod demonstrate the success of this approach.
“We still have more to do to reach Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) for all quota species by 2020 and to deliver the full discard ban by 2019, but already fishermen are benefitting from the action we’ve taken in recent years to recover stocks,” he said.
In some cases there will still be some reductions in quota, including a 19 percent decrease for nephrops (langoustines) in the North Sea, a cut of 55 percent in Irish Sea sole and a 9 percent reduction in Bristol Channel plaice.
Quotas remained the same for Celtic Sea monkfish, pollock, and skate and rays.