The European Parliament has approved a second plan for the North Sea Fishing grounds with multiannual quotas in revisions to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). This will be a significant factor in the Brexit negotiations.
“The plan covers fishing grounds that risk becoming bargaining chips during the Brexit negotiations. It is therefore of utmost importance that we have a sound basis for these negotiations with a solid multiannual plan. With the outcome of today’s vote I am confident that we can safeguard the goals and ambitions of the EUs fisheries policy – even after Brexit” Ulrike Rodust MEP (Germany)
The new rules would:
- set the ranges (minimum-maximum) within which the Council can set the yearly Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas
- achieve maximum sustainable yield (MSY) at the latest by 2020 for all stocks affected by this regulation
- base all measures on the best available scientific advice as reviewed by the International Council of Exploration of the Sea (ICES) or the Scientific, Technical & Economic Committee for Fisheries (STEFC)
- suspend the targeted fishery for one particular stock and reduce fishing opportunities when scientific advice indicates a stock is in danger
- cover also recreational fisheries
The plan’s main function is to manage the fisheries of demersal species living near the bottom of the sea. The plan would be evaluated by the EU Commission three years after its entry into force and subsequently every five years.
Interestingly a new article was added to the plan to cover Third Countries. It states as follows :
“the stocks managed jointly with third countries and the total fishing opportunities would not exceed the ranges set in the plan”
“future agreements with third countries would take account of the plan”.
Scottish waters make up the prime fishing area of the North Sea and of huge importance to the Scottish economy. It is inconceivable that the Scottish Fishing Industry will not be used as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame