DEFRA consults on quota shares in England

Questions on post-Brexit increase allocations

DEFRA has launched a consultation asking for views, backed by evidence, on how additional UK quota gained after Brexit should be allocated in England, reports Tim Oliver

It says it will ‘negotiate for a fairer share of quotas’ after the UK takes back control of UK waters, and is seeking views on who should benefit from this additional quota and how it should be distributed, backed by evidence.

DEFRA says that opinions and viewpoints are welcome, but that ‘it is evidence synthesis and knowledge gathering that is at the core of this call’.

Fisheries minister Robert Goodwill said the government is committed to creating a new system for allocating additional quota that works for fishermen and the marine environment.

“This call for evidence is an important milestone in that process, and gives everyone with a stake in our waters the chance to shape how we go about allocating additional fishing quota,” said the minister.

A DEFRA spokesperson said: “To develop this approach, the government is seeking views on the values and processes which underpin good quota management. This will help inform who should benefit from this additional quota and how it should be distributed.

“For example, the call for evidence will look at whether England could learn from allocation models in other parts of the world, how allocation could help tackle choke risks, and how a new approach could best support coastal communities and ensure a sustainable industry.”

DEFRA’s fisheries white paper, ‘Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations’, set out plans for how UK fisheries would be managed after Brexit, including plans for ‘a conversation about how to allocate the additional quota we negotiate’. “We indicated that we would work with stakeholders to develop a new and different approach to allocating this.”

Issues to consider in developing this approach to quota allocation in England that were set out in the white paper include:

  • Establishing a reserve of quota to be managed and allocated in accordance with new criteria to meet the future needs of the industry. This could include allocation of some fishing opportunities specifically for recreational angling
  • Allocating part of any new quota in the reserve to underpin a new approach to tackle the problem of choke species, so that the ‘crucial’ discards ban works in practice as well as in theory
  • Allocating some fishing opportunity through a tendering or auctioning system
  • Developing new criteria to define low-impact inshore fishing vessels, to replace the current ‘under 10m’ category
  • Potentially trialling an effort (days at sea) based regime in place of a quota regime for some inshore fisheries
  • Integrating recreational angling within the new fisheries framework, recognising the social benefits of this activity and impacts on some stocks
  • Ensuring coastal communities derive maximum benefit from quota.

“This call for evidence is to inform the development of this new approach. It is part of the process to enable us to gather and evaluate appropriate evidence,” said the DEFRA spokesperson.

Evidence submitted might include new or existing reports or documents, as well as data in various forms. It can also include personal experiences of fishing inside and outside of quota management systems, and how these have influenced personal approaches to fishing.

The consultation/call for evidence can be found on the DEFRA website:

The deadline for responses is 30 August, 2019.

‘Call for evidence’ questions

The consultation asks 16 questions, each with a space beneath for evidence to support replies:

  1. Which allocation models from other parts of the world could we learn from?
  2. Are there positive aspects of the current allocation model which should be replicated in the approach for allocating additional quota?
  3. Are there aspects of the current allocation model which should not be replicated in the approach for allocating additional quota?
  4. How could competitiveness, profitability and sustainability be considered in developing an approach for using additional quota?
  5. How could we demonstrate that we have made good decisions in how we use additional quota?
  6. How could we identify groups or individuals that could use additional quota and determine why they need this quota?
  7. How could we define ‘active fishers’? And what processes can we establish, if any, to ensure active fishers have opportunities to access additional quota?
  8. How could we define ‘new entrants’? And what processes can we establish, if any, to ensure new entrants have opportunities to access additional quota?
  9. How could we determine the capacity of the current fleet to catch additional quota?
  10. How could we use additional quota to tackle choke risk and to deter catches or discards in excess of quota?
  11. How could we design an allocation system (including tendering or auction) that would contribute to our aim of a competitive, profitable and sustainable fishing industry?
  12. How could we use additional quota in a trial to test whether fishing can be carried out sustainably under an effort-based regime?
  13. How could we use additional quota to integrate recreational fishing activity into a quota management system?
  14. How could we best support coastal communities with additional quota, and what evidence is there about the value of community-based quota schemes and the forms they could take?
  15. How could we use additional quota to improve our evidence on fish stocks and fisheries?
  16. Are there any other issues, or is there any additional evidence, that you think we should be considering in relation to additional quota?

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