The UK Government has set out how additional fishing quota secured through negotiations with the EU will be split between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
As part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EU, the UK obtained a transfer of 25%, with 15% in the first year. After 5 years, the UK will seek further increases in quota through annual negotiations.
The distribution of this additional quota will be allocated between fisheries administrations, based on the previous track record of fishing activity in each nation, and the principle of zonal attachment which reflects the areas where fish are present in UK waters.
The UK Government has said it is very aware of the important role that international quota swaps have played in supporting skippers’ access the quota they required throughout the fishing year and have taken this on board in developing the method for additional quota.
For 2021, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has used a two-stage method.
The first stage ensures that no administration is worse off than they were before by taking account of recent international quota swapping patterns.
DEFRA considers quota that the UK normally swapped in and landed. The additional quota that we have secured up to this amount will be apportioned between the administrations based on historic uptake.
It will then be for each devolved administration to decide how to allocate that additional quota to their industry and whether this is allocated to those who previously swapped and fished it.
The second stage is aimed at sharing the rest fairly and ensuring all parts of the UK benefit from leaving the EU.
For 2021, DEFRA consider that a ratio of 90% historic uptake to 10% zonal attachment best meets the needs of all four fisheries administration.
Using an element of historic uptake ensures all parts of the UK benefit from additional quota in the stocks they have previously fished, regardless of where those stocks are located.
Using an element of zonal attachment will ensure all parts of the UK benefit from additional quota in the stocks in their waters, regardless of whether they have had access to quota in the past.
Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan David Duguid said:
“As an independent coastal state, we can now make new decisions on how we manage our fisheries.
“I welcome the news that Scottish fisherman will receive a higher overall percentage of the new quota, reflecting the size of the industry here.
“It is also important to note that those skippers – particularly in white fish fleet – who previously depended largely on international quota swaps will still benefit from the additional quota.
“The UK Government continues to engage with the industry around the country and will evaluate the effectiveness of this system as we consider how best to develop the approach for 2022.”
DEFRA has said it will evaluate how well the system works in 2021 before developing improvements for 2022.
As was the case for this approach for 2021, the industry and devolved administrations will be consulted in advance of the approach being decided for 2022.