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Hague Preference

Volume 450: debated on Monday 23 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what occasions since 1997 the UK has invoked the Hague Preference; what the (a) amount reserved and (b) increase in share was in each case; on how many occasions stocks were at a level where the Preference could have been used but was not; and if he will make a statement on his policy on the use of the Hague Preference. (95337)

The historic data are not available without incurring disproportionate cost. However, in recent years, the UK has invoked the Hague Preference on all stocks on which the Irish Government invokes it, in order to minimise the UK losses that flow from Irish invocation. In the North Sea, we have avoided invoking the Hague Preference on severely depleted stocks such as cod, but maintain our right to invoke on other stocks, if circumstances demand. The table shows the net effect of our 2006 invocations. We are currently reviewing our approach to use of the Hague Preference.

Initial QuotaInitial QuotaFinal QuotaFinal QuotaNet estimated value of HP impact (£million)

Species

UK

IRE

UK

IRE

UK

Cod Vb, VI1 XII

322

76

368

138

0.081

Cod Vila 2

780

853

527

1204

-0.454

Cod VI I b- k3, VIII

462

569

439

818

-0.041

Plaice Vila4

822

643

485

1051

-0.419

Saithe Vb,VI,5, XII

2262

310

3592

467

0.569

Whiting Vila6

231

173

169

252

-0.046

Total: -0.310

1 West of Scotland 2 Irish Sea 3 Area includes Channel, Celtic Sea 4 Irish Sea 5 West of Scotland 6 Irish Sea