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Fisheries: Quotas

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to his Department’s Marine Programme Plan for 2008-09, whether the quota reform task group has been established. (253399)

Access to fisheries is being considered as part of the wider common fisheries policy reform process which is now underway, and due for completion in 2012. The UK governance framework for this negotiation will ensure all stakeholders get the opportunity to feed in their views.

In addition, I have recently announced my intention to establish a more targeted advisory group, including industry and community representatives, to support work to achieve our goal of sustainable access to inshore fisheries. I expect this group to be set up by the spring. This work is closely aligned with the work on CFP reform and long term reform of the wider UK industry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the draft proposals of the Quota Management Change Programme (QMCP) produced prior to the withdrawal of the Scottish Executive from the QMCP; and if he will make a statement. (253427)

Discussions on the quota management change programme were incomplete when the Scottish Executive withdrew from the process in June 2007. Moreover, subsequent developments have in any case overtaken certain aspects of these discussions. Therefore, I do not intend to publish documents relating to these internal discussions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the inclusion of recreational sea angling catches in national quota derives from recommendations of the Quota Management Change Programme. (253428)

No. The proposal to count recreational sea angling catches, in certain circumstances, against a member state’s quota forms part of the recently published Commission proposal for a Council regulation establishing a community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy. The UK Government had no discussions with the Commission prior to the publication of the proposal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to his Department's Marine Programme Plan for 2008-09, when he plans to consult on the principles of quota separation; and if he will make a statement. (253431)

Last year, the Scottish Executive put forward a number of proposals to amend the existing quota management arrangements. We have yet to see any firm proposals following their consultation last year. The current quota management and licensing rules and management arrangements remain in place.

It is my strong preference to take forward discussions on quota management and licensing arrangements reform through the wider discussions on common fisheries policy (CFP) reform, now under way. This is the best way to make sure we end up with a workable approach that reflects the needs of all four Administrations and ensures we engage with the Commission and other member states productively throughout the negotiation, and that the wishes of the UK are fully reflected in the final outcome.