The UK fishing industry will benefit from 140,000 tonnes of fishing opportunities worth over £280 million in 2023 after the UK today (20 December 2022) reached an agreement with the EU.
This brings the total value of fishing opportunities secured for the UK fleet in 2023 in the three main negotiation forums to £750 million, a £34 million increase from last year.
In the third year of annual fisheries negotiations with the UK operating as an independent coastal state, the UK and EU today agreed catch levels for 69 important fish stocks. This included some of the most commercially valuable stocks to the UK fishing industry such as North Sea Nephrops (£54m), Anglerfish (£31m) and Western hake (£25m).
Throughout the negotiations, the UK Government has worked closely with the devolved administrations to ensure fishing communities across the UK will benefit from the agreement. The Scottish industry, for example, will benefit from improved catch levels for North Sea stocks including cod, hake, whiting and nephrops.
The agreement also commits the UK and EU to work together to provide more sustainable fisheries management.
Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said:
Our agreement with the EU secures valuable fishing opportunities for the UK fishing industry while cementing our joint commitment to manage fisheries sustainably.
These decisions are based on the latest scientific advice to help protect key fish stocks with the long-term health of the marine environment at the forefront of our minds.
We are backing the fishing industry across the country to succeed, with a landmark £100m investment in infrastructure, skills and better scientific data so that our fishing industry thrives for generations to come.
This latest deal follows an agreement with the UK, EU and Norway on six North Sea fish stocks including cod, haddock and herring worth £202m to the UK fishing industry, and a further £11 million in stocks in other waters around the UK.
In the same week, the UK secured catch limits worth a further £256m with the North East Atlantic coastal States, while an agreement with Norway last month will see the UK fishing industry benefit from fishing opportunities worth £5 million in 2023.
Sustainability has been at the heart of the UK’s approach to all the negotiations to ensure key fish stocks are protected and to support the long-term viability of the UK fishing industry. Wherever possible, catch levels have been set in line with, or lower than, the level advised by scientists at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), and there is an estimated 13% increase in catch levels that align with ICES advice compared to last year.
The outcome of annual fisheries negotiations will be published in the Secretary of State determination of fishing opportunities for British fishing boats by the end of the year.
The UK has also started negotiations with the Faroe Islands on exchanges of fishing opportunities for 2023.
The UK fishing industry is currently receiving a significant funding investment from the UK Government to help modernise its facilities, train and upskill fishermen, and invest in better scientific research on key fish stocks.
Last month, Defra announced £20 million from the UK Seafood Fund had been awarded to expand processing facilities for popular British fish like Scottish salmon, mackerel and herring. A further £30 million is now available for infrastructure projects in the latest round of funding open for bids.
Last week, five pioneering research projects were awarded over £3.5 million through the Fisheries Industry Science Partnership (FISP) scheme to gather vital evidence to inform how we manage our fisheries and protect marine habitats across the UK. Almost 30 projects have received funding through FISP so far, and the fourth and final round opened earlier this month, running until midday on 19 January 2022.