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Fisheries: EU Law

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost to the UK of implementing the European rules on the electronic recording and reporting of fishing activities; and if he will make a statement. (150460)

Fisheries Departments estimate that the capital costs to central Government will be approximately £90,000 for the purchase of equipment needed to receive the data messages sent by fishermen. In addition about £280,000 will be needed for the costs of developing the software needed to process the data.

Costs to industry cannot yet be quantified but are expected to be low. Discussions with information technology (IT) developers tell us that those with existing on-board systems should only need to make minor changes. For those without suitable equipment the estimated costs are in the region of £1,000-£1,500 per vessel to install the required equipment. Transmission costs are estimated at £0.60-£2.00 per message depending on the communication means used, with annual transmission costs per vessel estimated at around £147-£525.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he expects the European rules on the electronic recording and reporting of fishing activities to be fully implemented; and if he will make a statement. (150464)

We expect this to be 1 January 2009 for the submission of electronic sales notes by buyers and sellers and 1 July 2009 for the submission of electronic logbooks and landing declarations by vessels over 24 metres in overall length and 1 January 2011 for the submission of electronic logbooks and landing declarations by vessels over 15 metres in overall length. These dates are included in the current proposed Commission Regulation on the implementing rules for electronic recording and reporting of fishing activities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) his European counterparts and (b) the fishing industry on the implementation of the European rules on electronic recording and reporting of fishing activities; and if he will make a statement. (150465)

Initial discussions were held at ministerial level during November council last year when the council regulation was agreed. Since then discussions on the detailed implementing rules have been held between member states.

My officials have circulated copies of the proposed implementing rules to licence holders of vessels over 10 metres in overall length and registered buyers and sellers of first sale fish. There have also been meetings held with individuals and companies responsible for auction sales in Plymouth and Newlyn and representatives of the NFFO to discuss the possible implications of the proposal. Further discussions will take place once the detailed rules have been agreed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has estimated the (a) cost and (b) benefits of introducing EU rules for the remote sensing of fishing vessels in UK fisheries. (150471)

There will be an initial cost to Government of about £40,000 to allow the integration of remote sensing images with other monitoring data. The cost for an individual Satellite Image Radar picture is between £450-£1,100.

Remote sensing of fishing vessels is not a stand alone enforcement tool and must be used along side other resources like satellite monitoring records, aerial and surface surveillance means. It can nevertheless lead to increased effectiveness in the deployment of those resources and could be particularly useful in monitoring remote closed areas. This will however need to be considered on a case-by-case basis and only used, as the Council Regulation states, where there is clear evidence of a cost benefit in relation to the traditional control means in the detection of fishing vessels operating illegally.