Examination of witness

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

Alert me about debates like this

Griffin Carpenter:

That is a good question. The line that has always been used on quota allocation in the past was, “You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, and we don’t want that in the industry.” Now we have the idea of a Brexit dividend of extra quota, we are robbing Pierre to pay Paul, so that is fine. We are fine as long as Peter is protected.

The idea of quota shares is actually a bit confusing because they are percentages rather than tonnage. Now that stocks are recovering, and the quota increases each year, you can have a situation, even if you are taking from Peter and giving to Paul, where everybody is better off. You can have this as a conditional reallocation. Let us say you get a certain share in the large-scale fleet—you have a large-scale vessel—and you are guaranteed 1,000 tonnes every year. If the quota is going up, some of the surplus quota of that year can be reallocated to the small-scale fleet in a pool or through whatever system you do that. There is a bit of a difference between tonnage, which is what actually affects your bottom line, and the percentage. I suggest that we can have these thresholds in place.

The other thing is that, with additional fishing opportunities potentially coming in, hopefully, we can do a reallocation all at once so, again, the large-scale fleet will not necessarily be worse off. They might have a smaller percentage of haddock, let us say, or some demersal stock that the small-scale fleet really wants, but they are getting all the extra herring and other species from the North sea from our EU colleagues. There is the potential for doing all this at once: revisiting the allocation system and making everyone better off.