UK Government

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (National): UK wins agreement for trials to reduce fishing discards

News   •   Dec 16, 2009 11:46 GMT

The UK today won a significant agreement at December Fisheries Council to allow new fishing trials to improve scientific evidence on conservation of fish stock and reduce discards.

The UK has also secured the Commission’s agreement for extra catch quota as an incentive for fishermen to take part in these important trials.

UK Fisheries Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said:

“The last two days of negotiation have been as hard as ever but this win will be great news for the fishing industry. Together with our colleagues from Denmark and Germany, I, and Scotland Environment Minister Richard Lochhead, have both pushed for the agreement of these trials so that we can match the science with what actually happens at sea. Sound science is essential in helping to conserve fish stocks while also allowing the industry to thrive. I know the fishing industry is fully behind these trials and I look forward to working with them as they progress.”

At December Fisheries Council the UK also successfully negotiated a number of other concessions. These include:

- Until EU/Norway negotiations are concluded, provisional quotas equivalent to 90 per cent of 2009 allocations for relevant stocks such as North Sea Cod, Haddock and Whiting, better than the 50 per cent originally proposed by the Commission;

- Nine per cent quota reduction in Nephrops (such as Langoustines, Scampi and Dublin Bay Prawns) in an area including the Irish Sea, better than the 30 per percent reduction originally proposed;

- A quota reduction of 25 per cent in West of Scotland Haddock, better by over 50 per cent than the Commission’s initial proposal;

- A quota reduction of five per cent for Western Channel Sole, better than the 15 per cent originally proposed;

- A 10 per cent increase in quotas for North Sea and West of Scotland Megrim, better than the original Commission proposal of no change;

- No reduction for Celtic Sea Cod quota, better than the initial proposal of 25 per cent; and

- Greater flexibility for Producer Organisations to better manage their North Sea Cod quotas.

Commenting on the outcomes of December Fisheries Council Mr Irranca-Davies continued:

"We know times are tough for the UK fishing industry and that this December’s negotiations would be some of the hardest we have faced. Although we have not secured a perfect world agreement on everything we came to the table with, we have won these important concessions based on sound arguments to back our position. I’m pleased that the Commission and Presidency listened to our arguments, and glad they came towards us in many important areas."

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