Last week the UK government achieved two key agreements in Europe which will support our fishermen and mackerel industry.
Mackerel agreement reached
On Friday, a long term management strategy was signed between the EU, Faroe Islands and Norway to support the long-term future of North East Atlantic Mackerel stocks and deliver vital stability for UK fishermen.
While the agreement will see a 15% cut in the quota for 2016, it has been welcomed by industry as a fair deal for fishermen in light of the challenges facing these vital stocks.
Having lobbied to avoid more severe reductions, we have struck the right balance between supporting industry and our fish stocks, and the UK can now expect to receive around 208,000 tonnes of mackerel quota in 2016. This agreement is worth around £200m to our fleet, which includes around £130m for the Scottish fleet based in key ports such as Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Lerwick.
As part of our long-term, international strategy we will also be collaborating with Member States on a new fish egg survey to ensure we have access to the very latest science and data we need to protect mackerel stock for the future of our industry.
Commenting on this agreement, Fisheries Minister George Eustice said:
Mackerel is the UK’s most valuable stock and Friday’s agreement represents a good deal for the UK, and particularly Scottish fishermen.
As well as careful quota management to protect the long term future of this fishery, we must also ensure the scientific advice we use to agree fishing levels is as robust as possible. Our contribution to next year’s comprehensive egg survey will play an essential role in securing the data we need to safeguard the marine environment and ensure we have enough mackerel for generations of fishermen.
UK government secures support for fisheries affected by Russian ban
The mackerel deal comes hours after another agreement which will see fishermen affected by the Russian food import ban benefitting from further EU-wide support thanks to lobbying by the UK government.
Late on Thursday evening, the UK led efforts to secure EU measures so that fishermen can ‘bank’ a higher proportion of their 2015 quota for some pelagic stocks to use next year. The agreement reached at a meeting of the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers will mean that, for example, up to around 42,500 tonnes of UK 2015 mackerel quota would be available for use in 2016.
This agreement continues the flexibility in managing quotas for stocks impacted by the Russian import ban.
Fisheries Minister George Eustice said:
Thursday’s success is a good example of industry and Government working together to deliver practical help and shows the UK’s leadership in Europe.
This agreement will continue to help underpin confidence in the market, enabling industry to find alternative markets for fish that would have been exported to Russia.
- There will be a further Coastal States Meeting on 14/15 November which seeks to bring Iceland, and possibly Russia into this new agreement.
- EU rules limit banking of quota into the following fishing year to 10%.
- This year, the UK government secured around 243,000 tonnes of mackerel quota for UK fishermen.
- According to 2013 data, Russia’s market for our fisheries accounts for 18% of our mackerel exports and generated £16m.
- For the stocks of interest to the UK, fishermen will be eligible to bank:
17.5% of the following stocks of 2015 UK quota for use in 2016:
- North Sea mackerel
- Western mackerel
25% of the following stocks of 2015 quota for use in 2016:
- Western horse mackerel
- North Sea herring
- Atlanto-Scandian herring