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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make it her policy to ensure that total allowable catch quota top-ups for stocks subject to the landing obligation in 2017 will not increase the total catch and associated fishing mortality above scientifically advised levels.
The total allowable catch (TAC) figures proposed by the European Commission for quota stocks for 2017 are based on scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. The forthcoming negotiations at December Council where the TAC figures for 2017 will be finalised will take into account the scientific advice provided.
Before the introduction of the landing obligation, TACs were set at a lower level to account for the mortality caused by discarding. Once stocks come under the landing obligation, TAC top-ups are allocated by the European Commission to account for discarding no longer taking place. The rationale for top-ups is that although top-ups result in extra quota being directed to fishermen, the total catch mortality will not increase, as fishermen will be landing what they catch.
TAC uplift provides practical flexibility to the fishing industry and helps them to adapt to the landing obligation during its phased introduction from 2015 to 2019. The UK Government supports this approach.