Examination of Witness

Part of Fisheries Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:29 pm on 4th December 2018.

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Aaron Brown:

The way we want to see it is with the auction clause taken out and a direct replacement put in on what we call the 1 tonne to one boat principle, whereby the resource is seen as a national resource and legislated as such. What happens is that all the repatriated resource that we gain under zonal attachment—anything about that is missing from the Bill—that national pot of resources, gets allocated to all vessels in a sea area fairly, equally. For the west coast of Scotland, where we are both from, about 60,000 tonnes of mackerel could be repatriated—worth about £60 million—and about 100 vessels are left there with the capability to go to that fishery, so what you would turn around to say, therefore, is that each west coast fishing boat in the ICES sea area for that stock gets 600 tonnes. That applies across any stock.

What we would like to see with that is, instead of it just being administrated on a spreadsheet like the non-sector is, which ends up with DEFRA just saying that we get 12 tonnes for 12 months, spread out equally over the months, is that that fish can be held in a PO—not monetarily traded, rented, bought or sold, but held in a PO—as a kind of holding vessel to use it at the best time of year, when that fishery may be on, rather than trying to spread 600 tonnes over 10 months. Also, if you cannot use that resource, it goes back into the national pot. We believe that has a huge degree of simplicity to it, legislatively and operationally. It would provide the flexibility for vessels to use that fish at the best time of year and, obviously, it would allow it to be reabsorbed into the national pool. That is what we would like to see.