‘First time in 40 years’ Britain sets its own catch limits for fishermen

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The UK government has today (14 January) published provisional catch limits for fishermen in the UK to ensure fishing continues uninterrupted until annual fisheries negotiations with the EU, Norway and Faroe Islands conclude.

Fisheries Minister, Victoria Prentis said:

For the first time in 40 years we enter into annual fisheries negotiations as an independent coastal State.

As a responsible independent coastal State we are taking measures to ensure that we fish sustainably, and that our fishermen can continue to operate smoothly while those annual negotiations take place.

The UK government, following consultation with the Devolved Administrations and Marine Management Organisation, has set provisional catch limits in line with the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. These are generally calculated using a percentage of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) advice for each stock. Where needed, a higher allocation has been made for seasonal fisheries.

These provisional catch limits apply until the end of March. However, they will be regularly reviewed and will be updated as and when annual negotiations conclude.

The annual negotiations will take place now the UK and EU have concluded the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Under that agreement, the UK will see year on year increases in our share of the total allowable catch, moving from just over half of the quota stocks in our own waters now, to two thirds of the stocks in our waters after five and a half years.

As the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement states, UK vessels will be permitted to fish in EU waters and EU vessels in UK waters. However, from 1 January, UK and EU vessels must not fish in each other’s waters without a licence. A list of vessels licensed to fish in the 12-200nm zones of UK and EU waters has been published by the UK Single Issuing Authority. Licences to fish in the 6-12nm zones will be issued once the eligibility criteria has been agreed.

Until agreement is reached with Norway and the Faroe Islands, UK vessels are not permitted to fish in their waters and vice versa.

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