Sustainable fishing nets quota increases for UK fishermen

Today the UK government achieved agreements supporting UK fishermen and sustainable fishing at the annual EU talks on fishing quotas.

Fishermen across the country are set for a boost as the UK government’s commitment to sustainable fishing secured significant quota increases for key stocks at this year’s annual negotiations. This included an increase in quotas of North Sea Cod, Haddock and Monkfish. Importantly, stocks of both cod and haddock are now accredited as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Challenges remain in some parts of the country where the latest scientific evidence means further restraint is needed, for example in the Celtic Sea to revive stocks of haddock and megrim. However, there were increased quotas such as Western Skates and Rays (+15%), Bristol Channel Plaice (+49%), Sole (+9%) and Celtic Sea Cod (+11%). Crucially, a further package of measures has been agreed on sea bass in an attempt to reverse the decline around the English coast.

Total fishing opportunities worth more than £750 million were agreed at this year’s negotiations, including increased quotas for:

  • North Sea: Cod +10%, Haddock +23% and Monkfish +20%.
  • Irish Sea: Cod +377% and Haddock +55%.
  • Eastern Channel: Sole +25% and Skates and Rays +20%
  • Bristol Channel: Plaice +49% and Sole +9%

Speaking after the negotiations in Brussels, Fisheries Minister George Eustice said:

The UK has long championed sustainable fishing and that is starting to yield results in some areas with a recovery in key stocks and increased quota as a result.

Challenges remain in areas like the Celtic sea and on iconic species such as bass so further restrictions have been needed.

As we prepare to leave the EU, we will place science based fisheries management at the heart of future policy.

Significantly increased stocks for North Sea cod and haddock will provide a welcome boost for Scotland. In Northern Ireland, the UK secured quota increases for cod (+377) and haddock (+55) in the Irish Sea.

Strong work to drive sustainable fishing and tackle wasteful discards was clear throughout the negotiations, with the UK supporting the EU Commission’s proposal to introduce tougher controls on eel fishing to protect this critically endangered species.