Almost £600,000 of quota to benefit under 10-metre fishermen –

Almost £600,000 of quota to benefit under 10-metre fishermen Published:  08 March, 2013

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has gained almost £600,000 worth of valuable fish stocks quota to directly benefit fishermen in the under 10-metre (U10m) and non-sector fleets.

Under the EU quota system, there is a limited ability to bank up to 10 per cent of any unused quotas for certain stocks over from one year to the next. The MMO negotiated with other industry groups to obtain donations of quota for the 10-metre and under fleet. This means that for key stocks such as sole, cod, haddock and pollack, the MMO has been able to bank forward from 2012 into 2013 the full amounts possible, making extra quota available in 2013 for fishermen.

The MMO’s Head of Fisheries Management and Effort Control, Martyn Youell, said: “Our quota managers work hard to ensure fisheries stay open as long as possible during the year.

“This extra quota will help towards ensuring fisheries can stay open for the whole year as well as helping allow higher catch limits in some cases. By securing quota from English producer organisations we are delighted to be able to offer such large-scale benefits for the fleet, and will continue to look for similar agreements in the future.

“We would also like to thank the producer organisations who released this extra quota for the U10m and non sector fleets.”

Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon, said: “Helping the under 10m fleet has been a priority for me and I am delighted that they are beginning to reap the benefits of the changes we have introduced.

“It would be a travesty if we were to allow smaller fishing boats to go out of business and I will continue to do everything I can to help them.”

The MMO is continually working to improve day-to-day management with accurate catch limits and forecasts that secure longer fisheries whilst ensuring the welfare of the fish stocks. It welcomes the contribution of industry to this process and is working to increase its input.

“In the long term, we are supporting the work of our colleagues in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to look at the reform of inshore fleet management through the Sustainable Access to Inshore Fisheries project,” said an MMO statement.

Quotas are limits on the amount of fish that fishermen can land and are set annually by ministers across Europe to help achieve the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) for the conservation and sustainable management of fish stocks.

Different quotas will apply to different species to preserve and enhance these stocks. Producer organisations are allocated a share of the UK quota. For the U10 fleet, the MMO holds the quota centrally and generates the annual pool quota allocations. Access to this pool is then equally shared among all under 10 metre licence holders.