Examination of Witness

Part of Fisheries Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Dr Appleby:

An FQA is a possession under the European convention on human rights. There is a distinction. “Quota” is once it is distributed, and FQA units are about your expectation of how much of a share of the UK’s TAC you are going get every year. That was based on the historical landings data, traditionally. He said that unused FQA units could be reallocated without compensation. FQA units are a possession, so the corollary of that is that used FQA units—and most of them are used—would require some sort of compensation payment. I have not been privy to the subsequent legal advice, and I took a sharp intake of breath when he said that at the time. In fact, I went to court to watch some of the court proceedings—it was quite interesting; it was right up my field. It is inherent in the UK that we do not take assets off people without compensation. It is part of our culture—way before the European convention.

There is another point about that redistribution and the immediate way it would have ramifications on how the whole commercial sector is constructed, which you need to be mindful of. Once you put that whole lot into a bag and shake it up, you could design a scheme to reallocate quota, but it would need to be done in a sensible, crafted way.