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Fisheries

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what Government policy is on the measures outlined in Article 17 of Council Regulation 2371/2002 and the future of access of non-UK fishing vessels within the 12 nautical mile limit after 31 December 2012; (180750)

(2) whether the Commission has begun work on the report on the future of access to fishing waters and resources, as outlined in Article 17 of Council Regulation 2371/2002; and if he will make a statement.

I will consider carefully the Government’s policy with regards to access to waters and resources within 12 nautical miles as we prepare for the next reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP).

I expect the rights the UK has under the current framework regulation (that is, to restrict fishing to vessels that traditionally used those waters and to pass laws to protect the stocks in our waters and manage UK vessels in the 0-12 mile zone) would be maintained beyond 31 December 2012.

The Government have begun to plan objectives for the 2012 review of the CFP as set in the draft implementation plan for Fisheries 2027 (published in October 2007), but UK policy on this has not yet been formulated.

I am not aware how far the Commission have progressed with their report regarding the future of access to fishing waters and resources. According to Article 17 of Council Regulation 2371/2002, the deadline for the report is 31 December 2011, but I will press for adequate discussion in the run up to the CFP reform.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the European Commission has informed him of the need to reduce the capacity of the UK fishing fleet, as specified in Article 16(2) of Council Regulation 2371/2002; and if he will make a statement. (180752)

The European Commission has not informed DEFRA of the need to reduce the capacity of the UK fishing fleet as specified in Article 16(2) of Council Regulation (EC) 2371/2002.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether, with regard to Article 11 of Council Regulation 2371/2002, (a) the Government and (b) the European Commission have considered whether there needs to be an adjustment of fishing capacity for UK vessels over the next five years; and if he will make a statement. (180753)

The measures in Article 11 of Council Regulation (EC) 2371/2002 establish reference ceilings for the capacity of the fishing fleet in terms of total tonnage and engine power of the fleet, while those in later articles, including Article 16(2), set out measures related to the control of fleet entries and exits. The UK is compliant with the provisions of these articles and hence there is no need for further consideration by the UK Government or European Commission of the need for adjustment of fleet capacity related to these measures.