Examination of witness

Part of Fisheries Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:01 pm on 6th December 2018.

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Griffin Carpenter:

Absolutely. I am not a lawyer—I am an economist—but the legal advice I have heard is that the use of a notice period goes a long way. I mentioned the international examples. We have to make some claim on FQAs as a public resource. Where you might get buy-in for this across the whole sector, including the large-scale fleet, is on something such as flagged vessels. When you hear about Spanish vessels in UK waters, they are almost never Spanish vessels in the sense that they have a Spanish flag and are fishing the Spanish quota; they have purchased UK fishing vessels and are fishing with UK quota, and a lot of coastal communities do not like that. For example, in Wales, most of the quota is caught by those vessels and either landed in Ireland or taken straight to Spain.

The problem is that, if you want to address this issue of flagged vessels—those who are foreign nationals but have UK quota—you must do so by saying, “FQAs are a public resource and we are going to take that away from you and then revisit the issue of distribution.” In a political sense, you can get buy-in for that idea. In a legal sense, I get that the notice period goes a long way. We heard the point made this morning that, because this is new legislation, some of the case law around the previous FQA distribution under the common fisheries policy might not apply. I am actually not sure about that.