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Fishing Vessels

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she plans to make any changes in the licensing arrangements for fishing vessels; and if she will make a statement.

I am pleased to advise that a number of changes are being made with immediate effect to the present licensing arrangements following the consultation papers issued by the Fisheries Departments in April 1992 and January 1993. We hope that these changes will assist the industry and at the same time contribute towards our multi-annual guidance programme—MAGP—targets for reducing the capacity of the United Kingdom fishing fleet by 31 December 1996.In early 1992, the Government introduced a 20 per cent. capacity penalty for all licence transfers and aggregations. With my colleagues from the other Fisheries Departments, I have considered the operation of the present penalty and in the light of representations from industry we have decided on certain modifications. These take into account concerns over the structure of the industry, the difference between single licence transfers and aggregations and the licensing and replacement of 10m and under vessels. For example, subject to certain conditions, for vessels of over 10m we are reducing the capacity penalties for single licence transfers and aggregations involving minor engine modifications; and waiving that penalty where sunk vessels are being replaced. In addition, for vessels of 10m and under we are removing the capacity penalty for single licence transfers and allowing licence transfers between vessels with inboard and outboard engines. The detail of these and other changes is as follows.All existing rules on the "transfer" or "aggregation" of licences will remain in force subject to the following. The 20 per cent. capacity penalty for licence aggregations is being retained, but a 10 per cent. penalty will apply to those aggregations involving minor engine modifications to existing vessels provided the engine power of the vessel, as measured in kilowatts, is not increased by more than 15 per cent. in a single aggregation or in a series of smaller aggregations. In addition, a 10 per cent. capacity penalty will apply to single licence transfers involving vessels over 10m in overall length. No penalty will be applied to single licence transfers affecting vessels of 10m overall length and under where there is no increase in the vessel capacity units of the recipient vessel. The capacity penalty may also be waived where we are satisfied that the vessels being replaced have been destroyed or permanently disabled as a result of fire, sinking or other accidental causes, provided the vessel capacity units of the replacement vessel are no greater than those of the replaced vessel and the age difference between the vessels is not more than seven years, the age of any vessel being determined from the date of its first build.The transfer and aggregation of licences from vessels of 10m overall length or under to vessels over 10m, or vice versa, will not be permitted. The number of vessels between 10 and 17m overall length which may take part in any future licence aggregation will be limited to two. However, for vessels of 10m overall length or under it will be possible to transfer or aggregate licences between vessels with outboard engines and those with inboard engines.Our MAGP targets are based on the vessels listed on the fishing vessel register maintained by the Registrar of Shipping and Seamen. To ensure that the register is restricted to active fishing vessels, from 1 November 1993 any person applying to transfer or aggregate fishing licences will need to show, before a new licence is issued, that any donnor vessel has been deregistered or that the donor vessel has been relicensed as part of a separate licence transaction.Any existing claims to licence entitlements must also be notified to the appropriate Fisheries Department by 1 November 1993 and a valid licence application in respect of a named vessel made by 27 July 1995. Entitlements occurring after the date of this announcement must be notified to the appropriate Fisheries Department within three months, and a valid licence application made within two years, of the date on which the entitlement first arose. Those who fail to notify Fisheries Departments of a licence entitlement, or fail to submit a valid licence application within the time limits specified will normally lose any claim to that licence entitlement. However, where the claim to an entitlement has arisen as a result of the loss of a vessel involving death or serious injury, the time limit for notification may, exceptionally, be extended.Mr. Beggs To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, (1) how many late applications have been received for fishing vessel licences for 10m and under vessels which were not registered on or before 27 February 1992; and how many of these late applicants have been granted licences;(2) how many late applications have been received for fishing vessel licences for 10m or under vessels which were not registered on or before 27 February; how many of these late applicants have been granted licences; how many have not been granted licences; and whether these applicants can reclaim the registration fee paid in pursuit of a fishing licence;(3) how many late applications have been received for fishing vessel licences for 10m and under vessels which were not registered on or before 27 February 1992; and how many of these late applicants have been granted licences.

To be eligible for a 10m and under licence, fishermen had to meet one of the following criteria:

  • (a) own vessels of 10m and under overall length which were on 27 February 1992 registered under part II of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988; and provide evidence of fishing for profit in the reference period 28 February 1991–27 February 1992;
  • (b) have applied on or before 27 February 1992 to register such a vessel; or
  • (c) provide evidence of an enforceable financial commitment to obtain such a vessel which was entered into on or before 27 February 1992; or
  • (d) have replaced a qualifying vessel which was used for commercial fishing during the reference period, provided that the new vessel was no larger in vessel capacity unit terms and the original vessel had been removed from the Register.
  • More than 6,850 applications for 10m and under licences were received in the United Kingdom—England and Wales about 4,670, Northern Ireland about 245, Scotland about 1,940. By 1 July some 5,330 licences had been issued or approved in principle—England and Wales about 3,550, Northern Ireland about 145, Scotland about 1,635. At the same date some 740 licences had been refused or the applications had been withdrawn—England and
    Crude trade balances in US $ millions
    199019911990199119901991
    AgricultureCerealsTotal visibles excluded oil and agriculture
    United Kingdom-10,185-8,925255310-31,068-17,635
    USA18,14317,96211,7839,897-104,408-80,205
    Canada2,0812,2703,3513,816285-3,744
    EC(12)-11,722-13,4103,4151,57816,584-7,960
    Cairns Group41,72639,8326,5716,0081-41,4211-42,049
    1 The trade balances for the Cairns Group does not exclude oil as no data are readily available.
    N.B. The trade balances for the EC and Cairns Group include intra trade.

    Source: OECD Foreign Trade by commodities, Series C.

    United Nations FAO Handbook.

    IMF Direction of Trade.