Commercial fishing and fisheries – news story

Industry negotiations result in Channel scallop deal

More than 700,000 extra days at sea have been secured for UK fishermen in Western Waters in 2014.

The extra fishing days were confirmed after industry-led negotiations between UK and French representatives, which have been taking place since the start of the year. Vessels in the UK over-15 metre scallop fleet have secured an additional 18 effort days each under the Western Waters regime for the whole of 2014.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has issued fishing vessel licence variations allowing UK scallop fishing vessels to benefit from extra effort in the English Channel in exchange for them observing area closures.

In return, UK scallop fishermen in the over-15 metre scallop fleet agreed not to fish in area VIId (eastern English Channel) in August and September, in certain areas of French waters in VIId between August and November and to a closure of an area further west off the French coast within Area VIIe between August and December. This is an area where there are sensitivities around the use of fixed fishing gears, which resulted in the tension between English and French fleets in October 2012.

France agreed to give the UK 720,000 Western Waters kilowatt (KW) days, 50,000 for use before 1 October 2014 north of the median line between the UK and France and a further 670,000 for use after 1 October 2014.

Fisheries Minister George Eustice said: “I congratulate industry on securing this deal, which will give UK scallop fishermen more days at sea - the agreement is a positive move for both sides.”

Fishing vessel licence variations are published on the MMO website and are also promoted through the MMO’s Twitter account and Facebook page.