European Commission agrees not to impose an automatic 25% cut on fishing quotas if data on individual stocks is insufficient

LONDON , October 21, 2011 (press release) – The European Commission today agreed that fishing quotas will not be subject to an automatic cut by the EU if data about individual stocks is insufficient.

Addressing the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg today, Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said that she had dropped plans to impose an automatic cut of 25 per cent if data was not considered to be reliable. She added that the quota would not automatically default to the previous year’s quota and would instead be decided on a case by case basis.

Speaking from Luxembourg, UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon said:

“I spoke to Commissioner Damanaki before the council meeting this morning and I’m pleased to see some realism in the decisions being made here. Just because the data on a stock doesn’t give the full picture, that doesn’t mean slashing the amount which you’re allowed to catch by a quarter is the right response.

“The UK fully supports the Commission’s ambitions to ensure that fish stocks are sustainable in the long term. But we can’t support proposals which have no basis in science and could risk increasing discards from otherwise healthy stocks.”

Richard Benyon is representing the interests of all UK fishermen at the Council meeting in Luxembourg today, where issues being discussed include the annual negotiations with Norway to manage Total Allowable Catch in the North Sea.

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