Conservative MEPs have welcomed the deal reached this morning that will see an increase in the quota of many species which British fishermen can catch.
The decisions taken by the EU Fisheries Council will mean a 100% increase in English Channel plaice, a 20% increase in Celtic Sea hake and a 15% increase in Western Channel sole. West coast monkfish was increased by 20%, west coast and Rockall haddock by 21% and 47% respectively. Quotas of skates and rays and pollock will be maintained at 2015 rates, in contrast to the usual 20% precautionary cut for these species.
However, boarfish saw a cut of 20% and it has been recommended that fishing ceases altogether for West Coast herring over the next year. There was also bad news for the sea bass fisheries in the South West as, despite rumours that a more lenient deal was about to be struck, the Council decided to impose a six month ban on all fishing for that stock in a move that has previously been described as "'draconian" by Conservative MPs and MEPs.
Ian Duncan, Conservative Fisheries Spokesman in the European Parliament, said: "The Conservative Government should be praised for delivering what are, on the whole, very positive results for the British fishing industry. Coming on the back of the EU-Norway talks last week, which saw quota increases for almost all of Britain's 'staple' fish stocks, the decision to increase the quotas for hake, monkfish, west of Scotland haddock, as well as Rockall haddock, is extremely good news. The decision on skates and rays and pollock is also to be welcomed as it ends the trend of arbitrary cuts to their quota over the past few years."
“However, I am concerned regarding the decision to give a zero total allowable catch for west coast herring next year. Our pelagic fishermen, already facing challenges in relation to access rights for mackerel, do not need another headache. Those in the south west of England involved in sea bass fishing will be dismayed at the draconian decision to impose a six month ban on all fishing for this stock. This could prove catastrophic and I and my colleagues will continue to fight this daft decision."
"All in all, though, last night was a success for UK fisheries after years of cuts to quotas and ahead of the demersal discard ban in January."