Documents considered by the Committee on 20 June 2018 Contents

4Multi Annual Plan for fishing in Western Waters

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Document details

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual plan for fish stocks in the Western Waters and adjacent waters, and for fisheries exploiting those stocks, amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1139 establishing a multiannual plan for the Baltic Sea, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) 509/2007 and (EC) 1300/2008

Legal base

Article 43(2) TFEU, QMV, Ordinary legislative procedure

Department

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Document Number

(39598), 7245/1/18 + ADDs 1–2, COM(18) 149

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

4.1Multi-annual plans (MAPs) set a management framework establishing rules and criteria under which Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and other management measures are adopted. Under the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), MAPs should cover multiple stocks where those stocks are jointly exploited (i.e. a mixed fishery). On that basis, the Commission proposed this new MAP incorporating Western Waters stocks into a single management plan. Like the earlier North Sea Plan, the Government told us that it considered the new MAP to provide a valuable framework for future cooperation between the UK and the EU.

4.2We first considered this proposal at our meeting of 2 May, raising the following issues:

4.3The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (George Eustice) has responded.40 He notes that the Commission’s approach is consistent with the North Sea MAP, which he welcomes.

4.4The Minister explains that some specific matters have emerged already, such as bycatch stocks incorrectly included by the Commission. This could be potentially difficult for the management of mixed fisheries, where inclusion of bycatch stocks could impact on the capture of target stocks. Member States are currently working to provide evidence so that affected stocks can be reclassified as bycatch stocks.

4.5The Minister agrees with the Committee both that the MAP must be sufficiently flexible to respond to emergency situations and that scientific advice should align with catch levels. He notes that evidence captured by the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation about higher actual levels of haddock in the Western English Channel than set out in the scientific stock assessment will feed into the assessments for 2019.

4.6Turning to Brexit, the Minister says that the UK would prefer the Western Waters MAP to be agreed before the UK exits the EU and he considers that it is in the interests of the Commission and other Member States to reach agreement within that timescale. As the UK is an important Coastal State in Western Waters, the Minister expected that the country will continue to play an active role in the management of these areas both during the implementation period and beyond.

4.7Regarding future UK influence, we note the Minister’s expectation that the UK will continue to play an active role. As we noted in our recent Report on the adoption of detailed rules in the fishing sector,41 there is a need to move beyond expectation to specific arrangements for UK involvement during the implementation period. While we look forward to the Minister’s response to our queries in that separate strand of scrutiny, we note its equal relevance in the context of the draft Western Waters MAP.

4.8The Minister notes that some specific matters have arisen already. We look forward to a further update in due course, including further details on matters that have arisen, the progress of negotiations and the outcome of the Department’s assessment of the implications of the proposal. In the meantime, the proposal remains under scrutiny. We draw this chapter to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual plan for fish stocks in the Western Waters and adjacent waters, and for fisheries exploiting those stocks, amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1139 establishing a multiannual plan for the Baltic Sea, and repealing Regulations (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) 509/2007 and (EC) 1300/2008: (39598), 7245/1/18 + ADDs 1–2, COM(18) 149.

Previous Committee Reports

Twenty-sixth Report HC 301–xxv (2017–19), chapter 2 (2 May 2018).


40 Letter from George Eustice to Sir William Cash, dated 5 June 2018.

41 Thirtieth Report HC 301–xxix (2017–19), chapter 16 (6 June 2018).




Published: 26 June 2018