The Government has today (1 April) announced that it intends to set provisional catch limits for UK-EU shared fish stocks for the remainder of 2021 if an agreement with the EU is not in place by Wednesday 14 April.
Annual negotiations on fishing opportunities with the EU are yet to conclude. Following intensive negotiations since January, they will resume next week.
As an interim arrangement, the Government has extended the current provisional determination of UK fishing opportunities until 14 April 2021. This determination will be replaced on or before 14 April with new provisional catch limits, in the absence of agreement with the EU, to provide industry with clarity about their fishing opportunities until 31 December 2021.
The Government remains committed to and believes it possible to reach a fair and balanced agreement, but we are taking this step now to deliver greater certainty to our industry.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
We are committed to cooperating with the EU to reach an agreement. However, any agreement reached must be in the best interests of UK fishermen and we will not accept a poor deal.
We have set provisional catch limits to allow these negotiations to conclude, and we will take steps to ensure that our fishermen have the certainty that they need – whatever the outcome.
Any deal reached must recognise sovereignty over our fishing waters and respect the importance of the sustainable management of shared fish stocks.
As an independent coastal State, the UK is also able to set our own regulations for other measures that are not agreed with the EU. These include special conditions and footnotes for Total Allowable Catches (TACs), seabass management regulations, and non-quota species regulations.
The UK will continue to cooperate with the EU on the sustainable management of fisheries.
- To ensure that fishing could continue while annual negotiations on fishing opportunities with the EU and other coastal States took place, the UK Government previously set provisional catch limits for fishers in the UK which expire on the 31 March. These will now be extended to 14 April.
- On 26 March 2021, the EU announced that it will be extending its provisional catch limits which expired on 31 March for a further 4 months.