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'Disaster Averted' On Quota Negotiations

Fishing Boats in Newquay
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9:24am 17th December 2014
(Updated 9:24am 17th December 2014)

Cornish fishermen say disaster has been averted on the amount of fish they are allowed to catch.

Quotas for monkfish, megrim and pollock in the southwest stay the same as last year.

Hake is up - but there is a warning cuts for cod, whiting and haddock will mean dead fish dumped at sea.

The results of the European negotiations were announced late on Tuesday night.

Fisheries Minister and Redruth and Camborne MP George Eustice said: "Although these were difficult negotiations, I am pleased that we were able to secure the best possible deal to ensure sustainable fisheries and a strong UK fishing industry.

"While fishermen had feared there would be major cuts from the Commission, by bringing new science to the table we were able to keep the same quota as last year for many species, including monkfish, megrim and pollock in the South West and skates and rays around the UK. This was in addition to important increases to North Sea cod and haddock quota which will benefit Scottish fishermen.

"In some cases there are still some reductions in quota, but I entered these discussions with the firm belief that any decisions need to support our shared goals of a thriving fishing industry, sustainable fish stocks and a healthy marine environment. If we want a long-term future for our industry we have to listen to the available science and agree fishing opportunities which support the sustainability of our stocks.

"I was disappointed no decision was reached this year to improve bass stocks but will be following up on the Commission’s commitment to work with Member States in the New Year. The UK has been a lone voice on this issue and it is essential we achieve a balanced approach which reflects the contribution of both commercial fisheries as well as recreational anglers on declining bass numbers."

Chris Martin is a fisherman in Newquay. He said: "The strong will survive - but, in an industry that is already at breaking point, you don't want to push it any further than it is now.

"At the end of the day we're doing the job to support our families."

Other key points from the negotiations...

  • Days at sea kept at 2014 levels
  • Increased quota for fishermen in many areas, including... North Sea: 5% cod,15% Nephrops (prawns), 15% plaice. North Sea and West Scotland : 6% haddock, 20% angler (monkfish). Irish Sea: Nephrops (prawns) 3%. Around the UK: hake 11%
  • Reducing cuts to Celtic Sea: 64% cut to cod reduced to 26% and 41% cut to haddock reduced to 12%
    Eastern Channel: 60% cut to sole reduced to 28%. Bristol Channel: 35% cut to sole reduced to 15%
  • 2014 quotas maintained for a number of stocks, including: Irish Sea: haddock. South West: angler (monkfish), megrim. Bristol Channel: plaice. North Sea: megrim, dab and flounder, sole and ling
  • Cuts include: Celtic Sea: 30% cut to herring, 26% cut to cod and 12%. North Sea: 5% herring, 15% saithe.
9:24am 17th December 2014

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