George Eustice has proposed that UK registered fishing vessels will have to land at least 70% of their quota in British ports
Secretary for State, George Eustice has promised the UK’s inshore fleet more quota and will insist on foreign-owned UK flagged fishing vessel landing more of their catch into British ports.
The Minister has promised more quota for the inshore fishing fleet, but it might only be available to fishers if foreign-owned UK flagged fishing vessels forfeit quota under another proposal.
Under the proposal being put forward by the Secretary, the Government is seeking to enforce upon foreign-owned UK flagged vessels to land at least 70% of their quota into ports in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The fishing vessels may have to land their fish into UK ports but what is the benefits for the UK seafood/processing/fishing industry or even the UK economy for this plan?
Jerry Percy, Chair of the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUFTA) said “Just landing catches here does very little for the UK economy in general, apart from having yet more EU trucks on our roads and, also next to nothing for coastal communities apart from some harbour and landing dues for ports.”
Independent fisheries consultant, Terri Portmann said “It’s right that the economic link should be strengthened but if we just end up with harbour dues and diesel fumes from the lorries taking it back out of the country, I’m not sure that would be a success.
“We will need to wait and see the detail but if that’s it, a raised landing requirement is the sum total of Government’s ambition, it will be another wasted opportunity for UK jobs and growth in the sector.
“Given the consistent breaking of promises to this sector, and in particular the pool, I suspect many in the inshore fleet will believe these new promises windfalls, when they see them.”
Speaking at the APPG Webinar, the Secretary said:
“It was clear in our white paper that we also intend to make additional quota are available to the inshore pool and, also in addition to that, we’ve just concluded a consultation on the economic link and we are proposing that we will increase the percentage of catch that vessels need to land in the UK, including foreign owned vessels who bought UK flagged vessels, they will need to in future land at least 70% of their quota, or they will effectively have to forfeit quota in that year to be redistributed to other sectors, which might well include the inshore fleet.
“So, we’ve toughened the economic link conditions with a view to releasing quota from some of those foreign vessels that land abroad, so that that can be re distributed fairly in the UK.”
The proposal for forfeited quota from foreign-owned UK registered fishing vessels would not apply to the Scottish fleet.
By Oliver McBride