The Marine Fisheries Agency, along with other fisheries administrations in the UK, operates systems as required by EU legislation to monitor and control the activity of UK fishing vessels to ensure quotas allocated to the UK are not exceeded. This involves maintaining dedicated systems for the collection and collation of information from vessel logbooks and landing declarations, as well as information from sales notes from registered buyers and sellers of fish. The information from UK systems is collated to produce reports on the level of uptake of quotas that are updated on a daily or weekly basis as appropriate. These reports are used by fisheries administrations, producer organisations and other groups in the UK to manage the individual quota allocations during each year. Monthly reports are provided to the European Commission, with measures also in place to check and validate information received by the Commission from other member states on landings by UK vessels outside the UK. The agency takes management action, as necessary, to control or close activity in particular fisheries to ensure quotas limits are complied with.
The risk weightings relate to enforcement of sea fisheries legislation. The Marine Fisheries Agency aims to deploy 60 per cent. of its inspection and enforcement resources to high risk fisheries, 30 per cent. to medium risk and 10 per cent. to low risk. The specific risk weightings take account of a number of factors, including the nature of the fishery, the area and the type of fishing activity. For instance, we would consider vessels fishing in an area and for a species for which specific recovery measures have been introduced to be classified as ‘high risk’. The agency is developing a computer model to assist in analysing a wide range of factors to determine compliance risks in fisheries for the medium to long term so that its resources can be deployed and utilised to best effect.
The following table sets out the number of licences issued to fishing vessels administered in England and Wales by (a) vessels of 10 metres and under in length, and (b) vessels of over 10 metres in length.
(a) 10 metres and under (b) over 10 metres 1997 0 1,000 1998 3,342 1,070 1999 0 938 2000 3,203 890 2001 0 842 2002 3,041 805 2003 0 731 2004 3,004 696 2005 0 656 2006 n/a 649
(a) 10 metres and under
(b) over 10 metres
Licences for fishing vessels over 10 metres in length were issued annually. Since 1996 licences for vessels of 10 metres and under in length have been issued biennially. Licences for fishing vessels of 10 metres and under in length will be issued again in June 2006.
Licences for vessels in Scotland and Northern Ireland were issued by the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development respectively.
In December 2005 the Marine Fisheries Agency issued licences for 649 fishing vessels of over 10 metres in length administered in England and Wales.
Licences for fishing vessels in Scotland and Northern Ireland were issued by the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development respectively.