UK-EU Catch Limits

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 27th January 2022.

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Photo of David Duguid David Duguid Conservative, Banff and Buchan

What steps he is taking to ensure a greater share of the UK-EU catch limits for the UK fleet in 2023.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We have seen uplifts in quota share across the UK, with an increase of approximately 15% already. It will continue to increase year on year until 2026. My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that there have been some particularly significant uplifts for the pelagic sector.

Photo of David Duguid David Duguid Conservative, Banff and Buchan

I look forward to continuing to work with the Minister to deliver the best future for Scottish fishermen as we move forward outside the common fisheries policy. Could she provide an estimate of how much the Scottish fishing industry has benefited in 2021 from being outside the CFP and particularly from negotiating as an independent coastal state for the first time?

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My hon. Friend, a great champion for the industry, will know that Scotland has so far been allocated 36,000 of the 60,000 tonnes of additional UK quota. The Scottish industry is also benefiting from additional white fish quota and from the ability to undertake quota swaps.

Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

More data may help in the negotiations, but data is no justification for the much-loathed catch app that the Government are imposing, which requires fishermen to guess the weight of their fish before they land them. When I was with Essex fishers in the estuary earlier in the week, they told me just how difficult that is.

I am not going to slap a dead fish on the Dispatch Box, Mr Speaker, because that would not meet with your approval, but I do have a copy of Tuesday’s Hansard, so I wonder whether the Minister can guess its weight. If she is not within 10%, will that make her a criminal? That is what the new rules will do to England’s fishers from the end of next month.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The hon. Gentleman knows that as a cook I am quite keen on guessing the weight of things, but I confess myself totally unable to guess the weight of Hansard without touching it.

In answer to the hon. Gentleman’s serious question, we will continue to work with the fishing industry on the best way to make sure we have the data that we need—as I think he would agree—to assess the future sustainability of stocks.