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Marine Fisheries Agency

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons the Marine Fisheries Agency’s performance targets for (a) fishing vessel licensing, (b) quota management, (c) grants and (d) marine environment were revised; and if he will make a statement. (110592)

The Marine Fisheries Agency’s targets were refined in the light of operational experience and to ensure realistic and appropriate measures of performance. Specific explanations for each amended target are set out as follows:

Fishing Vessel Licensing

The amendment reflects the Agency’s work to simplify the issue of fishing vessel licences for over 10 metre vessels. Such licences are now issued every two years rather than annually.

Quota Management

The revised target ensures that the Agency reports on its performance in managing fisheries quotas for which it has responsibility. The previous target included management of quotas that were the responsibility of other fisheries administrations in the UK that the Agency was not responsible for.


The target was amended in the light of operational experience. It was unrealistic, within available resources, to require 100 per cent. of claims to be processed within eight weeks. The revised target remains challenging, but is more realistic. The Agency will, however, continue to aim for all claims to be processed within the eight-week deadline.

Marine Environment

The Agency undertakes inspections of Food and Environment Protection Act (FEPA) licensed construction sites, ensuring that accessible sites are inspected during licensing periods. However, licensing periods do not correspond with the period covered by the annual performance target. This makes it difficult to report or measure activities in a meaningful way. The Agency is developing a risk-based approach to inspection, which will take account of the environmental and fisheries sensitivities of the FEPA licensed activity. The target was amended to reflect that decision. Risk-based inspection targets will apply for 2007-08.