Common Fisheries Policy implementation and 2019 fishing opportunities

On 21 November 2018, the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee considered the Commission’s Communication on the State of Play of the Common Fisheries Policy and Consultation on the Fishing Opportunities for 2019.

A similar document is published every year; it sets out the extent to which the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is being implemented, highlighting any particular challenges, and proposes an approach to agreeing cross-EU total allowable catches (TACs) for the following year.

The Communication notes that progress is being made on CFP implementation, but notes that overfishing is still taking place in some areas and in relation to certain fish stocks. The Committee has therefore written to the Minister to ask whether it expects further improvements to be made next year, and what the impact of sustained overfishing would be on the UK.  The Committee also questions the Commission’s proposal to consider socio-economic analysis alongside scientific advice in setting TACs, and warns against the sustainability risks of doing so. Both the Communication and the Government’s Explanatory Memorandum (EM) note the challenge that will be posed by the requirement to fully implement the CFP landing obligation in 2019: the Committee informs the Minister that it will explore this issue through a separate inquiry.

Update: on 19 December 2018, Members reviewed the response they had received from the Minister. They noted the Government’s statement that the number of stocks being fished at a sustainable level is increasing, and requested a further update after the December Fisheries Council to confirm that the trend has continued. They also requested an update on the outcome of Defra’s assessment of the economic impact of the landing obligation when it is available.

Update: on 27 March, Members reviewed the response they had received from the Minister. They noted the concerning increase in levels of unsustainable fishing, but noted that this issue is being pursued further in relation to the subsequent Regulation (EM 13731/18). They also requested an update on the Government’s economic analysis of the implementation of the landing obligation.

Letters to the Minister

Letter from the Minister

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