Documents considered by the Committee on 15 May 2019 Contents

7Fisheries catch quotas for 2019

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny (decision reported on 23/01/2019); drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Document details

Proposal for a Council Regulation fixing for 2019 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters.

Legal base

Article 43(3) TFEU, QMV

Department

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Document Number

(40168), 13731/18 + ADDs 1–2, COM(18) 732

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

7.1The Council adopted the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for fishing in EU waters, and for EU vessels fishing in certain other waters, in December 2018 to take effect from 1 January 2019.21 We cleared the document from scrutiny at our meeting of 23 January 2019, following an update from the Government summarising the outcome of the December Council.

7.2The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Rt Hon. Robert Goodwill MP) has since written22 to provide a further update. He has attached the Government’s economic analysis23 of the 2019 TACs and identifies several other issues.

7.3The economic analysis found that the estimated value to the UK of the December Council negotiation was around £554 million, with the 2019 EU–Norway negotiations estimated to be worth around £130m to the UK.24 There has been a decrease of 15% in quota for 2019 (519,304 tonnes) compared to 2018 (610,200 tonnes). This represents a relative value decrease of 9%, suggesting a larger decrease in TAC for lower value per tonne stocks. The UK’s TAC decrease was a result of the reduction in the total TAC for a number of stocks to bring them into line with long-term management plans.

7.4The Government secured a statement from the Commission at the December 2018 Council to instigate a review of the scientific advice on the level of unavoidable bycatch of Irish Sea Whiting. Subsequently, the Commission requested advice from ICES on what the level of unavoidable bycatches of whiting in the Irish Sea would be in 2019 while taking into account the TACs set for other target fisheries in the area. The Minister reports that ICES has recently provided that advice and the Commission is considering its response.

7.5At the Council, the UK also called for a review of the 2019 TAC for Cod so that the advice could be updated to include final landings for 2018. The Minister reports that the Commission is unwilling to reopen that advice.

7.6Concerning the UK’s role in fisheries management issues during any post-Brexit transition/implementation period (TIP), the UK will be seeking a discussion with the Commission on the UK’s continued participation in the North Sea and North Western Waters Regional Groups during the TIP, but the UK expects to continue to play an active role.

7.7Finally, the Minister updates the advice for 2019 on the Farne Deeps Nephrops stock,25 which is now expected to be fished slightly above its Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) harvest rate. While acknowledging that this is disappointing news, the Minister notes that the trajectory of the harvest rate for the Nephrops in the Farne Deeps is still downwards and the stock biomass is expanding. The recovery measures, designed to reduce fishing activity, remain in place and industry is broadly compliant. The Minister believes that these measures have ended the serious over-exploitation of this locally important fishery.

7.8We welcome the information from the Minister and require no further information at this stage. We look forward in due course to scrutinising the Commission’s Communication on fishing opportunities for 2020 and expect that to be an opportunity to reflect on developments during 2019 as well as Brexit considerations. We draw this chapter to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Council Regulation fixing for 2019 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters: (40168), 13731/18 + ADDs 1–2, COM(18) 732.

Previous Committee Reports

Fifty-second Report HC 301–li (2017–19), chapter 3 (23 January 2019); Forty-seventh Report HC 301–xlvi (2017–19), chapter 1 (5 December 2018).


21 Council Regulation (EU) 2019/124 of 30 January 2019 fixing for 2019 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters

22 Letter from Rt Hon. Robert Goodwill MP to Sir William Cash MP, dated 14 April 2019

23 Analysis of the 2019 December Council, Deep Sea & EU—3rd Country Negotiations

24 Note that it is important not to sum the value of the EU-only and EU-Norway negotiations as this would double-count the value of certain stocks.

25 The North Sea Nephrops stock is divided by area into nine functional units (FUs) distributed across the North Sea. The Farne Deeps FU is particularly vulnerable due to the small area of its Nephrops fishing grounds and their proximity to the coast and ports such as Amble, Blyth and North Shields.




Published: 21 May 2019