12/08/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/08/2023 13:40
Today, the EU and the United Kingdom reached an agreement on the fishing opportunities for 2024 for more than 85 total allowable catches (TACs) in the Northeast Atlantic.
The agreement will contribute to the sustainable management of fish stocks jointly managed by the parties, as well as provide stability and predictability for the respective fleets and operators.
The deal secures fishing opportunities of almost 388,000 tonnes for the EU fleet, estimated to be worth around €1 billion based on historic wholesale prices, adjusted for inflation.
This agreement is important because the stocks negotiated with non-EU countries represent a vast majority of the stocks of interest for the EU.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries:
The agreement we reached will secure fishing opportunities for fishers on both sides of the Channel, Irish Sea, and North Sea. It takes into account the sustainability of stocks and the socioeconomic impact for fishers, providing protection for our ocean and certainty for our fishers. The agreement establishes a strong basis to continue cooperating in fisheries management with the UK.
The agreement was reached under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) after the fourth annual consultations on fishing opportunities between both parties. The EU based its positions on its legal framework, including sea-basin related multiannual plans. The EU and the UK conducted these negotiations guided by the best available scientific advice on the status of fish stocks. Socioeconomic considerations were also taken into account to avoid choke situations that would lead to a premature closure of certain fisheries.
Besides the key role played by Member States in supporting the conclusion of this agreement, the close cooperation between the EU and the UK in the Specialised Committee on Fisheries (SCF) contributed to this outcome. Among other recommendations adopted this year, SCF concluded on the alignment of management areas with the stock distributions for eight shared stocks (lemon sole, witch, turbot, brill, Western channel and Eastern Channel plaice and Celtic Sea and Eastern Channel whiting) and developed a joint methodology for interpreting ICES advice for skates and rays.
The written record on the EU-UK consultations also establishes a clear set of priorities for future SCF work, including cooperation on joint technical measures to protect vulnerable stocks across sea basins and a joint request to ICES to update the Irish Sea sole ICES advice after the benchmark exercise.
The agreed catch limits will be submitted for incorporation into the Fishing Opportunities Regulation for 2024, during the Council of EU fisheries Ministers on 10 and 11 December 2023.
The parties will hold in-year consultations during 2024 for three other jointly managed stocks, for which the ICES scientific advice does not align with the calendar year: sandeel (North Sea, all banks), sprat (North Sea and the English Channel) and Norway pout.
The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) sets out jointly-managed EU-UK stocks, for which the Parties hold annual consultations every year to establish catch limits.
The parties' respective shares of these stocks are set out in the TCA, which also provides for reciprocal access for the fleets of both parties to the waters of the other. The TCA also provides for mutual access to fish non-quota stocks at historic fishing levels.
For More Information
8 DECEMBER 2023
Written Record of fisheries consultations between the European Union and the United Kingdom for 2024
(732.72 KB - PDF)
8 DECEMBER 2023
Supplementary Written Record of fisheries consultations between the European Union and the United Kingdom for 2024
(195.11 KB - PDF)