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:

I absolutely agree with you. That is why Fishing for Leave has been absolutely explicit right from the start that FQAs as they stand—the current quota and the current FQAs—should not be touched. We agree with you that it opens up a total legal and moral can of worms to turn round and say, “Okay, this shouldn’t have happened, but it has happened, but we’re going to take it off you.” I absolutely agree.

Our solution to preserving the FQAs, while moving to a more equitable system of management for both fisherman and the fish was to convert them into this flexible catch composition entitlement. That is very simple to do. It is legislatively no problem, because all you are doing is saying that your FQA is not an entitlement to a kilogram; it is an entitlement to a percentage. So the resources all come back, and the current resources go into a national pool; that is divided out as time and everybody gets an equal stake of time to reach their potential, but those biggest quota holders, both in the south-west and the north-east, which have heavily invested in FQAs, get the benefit of their investment, because when the fleet’s national average might work out at 5% cod in the North sea, those who have invested heavily in FQAs would get their 30% or 40% or whatever. We think that is a fair way to do it.