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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will meet a delegation of inshore fishermen and fish merchants to discuss ways to enable fishing to continue when fish merchants are unable to report landing details within the required time.
The provisions to which the hon. Member refers form part of a proposal from the European Commission for a new control regulation which was published last November. The original proposal was for sales notes to be submitted electronically by all buyers within two hours of sale. We have sought stakeholders' views on this and all other aspects of the proposal. In a revised proposal, recently published by the Commission after discussions with member states, the time limit for the submission of sales notes has been increased to six hours and an exemption has been provided from the need to submit sales notes electronically for businesses with an annual financial turnover in fisheries products of less than 200,000 euros. This revised proposal will be subject to further negotiation with member states and will not be adopted before October at the earliest. I would point out that failure by a buyer to comply with requirements relating to the submission of sales notes would not result in vessels being required to stop fishing.