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Fisheries Council

Volume 175: debated on Thursday 28 June 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the Fisheries Council held in Luxembourg on 27 June.

I represented the United Kingdom at the Council of Fisheries Ministers in Luxembourg on 27 June 1990 together with my noble Friend the Minister of State, Scottish Office.

There was a substantial discussion of the EC technical conservation arrangements. The Council agreed on the urgent need for action in the North sea. I stressed particularly the need to improve the selectivity of gear so that catches of immature North sea haddock and cod are reduced. As agreed at last December's Council, the Commission is to make proposals by the end of July; and the Council agreed to take decisions on these at the earliest possible opportunity.

We also secured some valuable new fishing opportunities. The EC has gained increased west Greenland cod; and the Council agreed that this should be allocated according to the principle of relative stability, bringing our fleet 1,410 tonnes. In addition, in the light of scientific evidence, the Council agreed to increase the Irish sea sole TAC, bringing us an extra 170 tonnes, including a swap with the Netherlands.

In response to strong Irish concerns, the Council agreed to adjust the staging of the EC catch of western horse mackerel. We safeguarded the position of our fishermen by ensuring that the tonnage put aside for the last four months of the year is more than the catch in the same period last year.