I would like to update the House today on a change to the number of total allowable catch limits (TACs) for quota stock that the UK has an interest in that will be fished at or below their maximum sustainable yield in 2020.
Analysing the UK’s progress towards delivering sustainable fisheries management including fishing at MSY is complex. This is because few total allowable catch (TAC) spatial management areas directly overlap with their corresponding International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) biological stock advice areas, with examples of both pooled TACs comprising elements of multiple biological stocks, and other biological stocks being split across TAC areas.
Noting these complexities, and in partnership with our scientific advisers at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), we have now reviewed the outputs from the fisheries negotiations for 2020. In doing so we have identified some corrections need to be made to the number of TACs at MSY that the UK has a fishing interest in for 2020. With these adjustments—a change related to one stock—accounted for, the UK had 36 (67%) TACS set at MSY out of a total of 54 TACs derived from stocks with MSY assessments in 2020. These figures are different from the figures previously communicated for 2020 i.e. 37 (69%) TACs set at MSY out of a total of 54. The figures for 2019 are unchanged: 30 (59%) TACs set at MSY out of a total of 51 TACs derived from stocks with MSY assessments in 2019.
As we have left the EU and the common fisheries policy, the UK Government will undertake a further forward-looking review of the methodology applied to assess the sustainability of fishing opportunities. In doing so we will seek the views of stakeholders. The new methodology will inform our negotiations for fishing opportunities in 2021 and will represent a fresh and transparent new approach to assessing outcomes on TAC setting including in relation to MSY that will reflect our objectives for delivering sustainable fisheries as an independent coastal state.