UK fishing quota increases agreed at EU negotiations

Grimsby fish market Image copyright Reuters

Increases have been agreed for the UK fishing industry in quotas for fish including North Sea cod.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the cod quota would rise by 15% and that for English Channel plaice would double.

The limits for 2016 were set at the annual EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council in Brussels.

Fisheries Minister George Eustice said the agreement was a "great result" for British fishermen.

Quota increases for the UK include:

  • English Channel: plaice 100%
  • North Sea: cod 15%, haddock 47%
  • Celtic Sea: hake 20%
  • Western Channel: sole 15%

There were cuts of 55% in Irish Sea sole and 9% in Bristol Channel plaice. Quotas remained the same for Celtic Sea monkfish, pollock, and skate and rays.

The number of days UK fishermen can remain at sea remains at 2015 levels.

'Tough decisions'

Mr Eustice said: "These negotiations are the culmination of months of government-led work to secure the best possible deal for the UK fishing industry, and the tough decisions we've taken to manage fishing and recover fish stocks are paying off - this is a great December council result for UK fishermen.

"I entered these discussions with the firm belief that any decisions need to support a profitable fishing industry, sustainable fish stocks and a healthy marine environment, and the significant quota increases we've achieved for iconic species like North Sea cod demonstrates the success of this approach.

"We still have more to do to reach maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for all quota species by 2020 and to deliver the full discard ban by 2019, but already fishermen are benefitting from the action we've taken in recent years to recover stocks.

"By fighting for the fishing industry, and making a clear case for the need for more sustainable fishing, we have got a good deal and shown we can get what we need in Europe."

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