NEF - UK to blame for poor quota deal for its fishers
Fishing industry was told Brexit would return control over UK waters – but British ministers already have the power to act
New analysis from the New Economics Foundation finds that the UK is failing to manage its fisheries in the public interest:
UK fisheries score poorly: lagging behind other European countries on accessibility, fairness and representative decision-making
Smaller fleets losing out: large-scale operations have been allowed to dominate the industry and reap huge profits, while smaller boats are struggling to access quotas and break even
UK powers are under-used: ministers could support smaller fleets by adjusting quota allocations to diversify access to fish stocks, as well as updating the tax system to maximise benefits to struggling fishers and ports
Brexit won’t lead to more control: the UK system of allocating quotas is determined by UK ministers, not Brussels
The Foundation’s research – the first comprehensive assessment of EU fishing quotas and how they are allocated by national governments – shows wide variation across 12 EU Member States, but a universal failure to get the best results for industry or the public.
While total allowable catch in European waters is agreed through negotiations with EU ministers, distribution of fishing rights is then determined by individual governments.
The Foundation’s analysis shows there is much more individual Member States, including the UK, can do to fairly grant access to fish stocks.
Griffin Carpenter, Economist at the New Economics Foundation, said:
“Fisheries must be sustainable but they should also be fair. Through better management of its fishing opportunities, the UK can support fishers and coastal communities – many of whom are struggling under huge financial pressure.”
“The Leave campaign promised that Brexit would allow UK fishers to take back control, but the reality is that big decisions on who fishes what in Britain’s seas are already Westminster’s to take.”
“UK ministers must take more responsibility. There are steps they can take today to ensure fair access for small-scale fishers in ports across Britain.”
Fish stocks are a vital public resource, and access to them is a heated subject across the EU and within individual Member States. Governments have approached the question of access in different ways.
The Foundation’s report examines how 12 EU Member States (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) make that decision – and the consequences that this can have.
The systems in place vary significantly. While fishers in Belgium and the Netherlands fish many of the same species in the same waters, the government-rationed quotas of the former and market for ownership rights in the latter are worlds apart in management approach.
A successful system should allow fishers to thrive and the public to benefit, all while ensuring an accountable and fair decision-making process. The report sets out a framework of objectives that reflect this.
While some Member States are performing better than others, in all cases fisheries management is shown to be costly to administer and generates little public revenue. Obtaining access to the fishing industry for new entrants is difficult, and the transparency of many systems of fishing opportunities is low.
More must be done by individual governments to improve systems and fishing to deliver the best results for their citizens.
View report here
Latest News from
JRF - Rising prices and the benefit freeze make families £500 worse off14/12/2017 12:35:00
Ashwin Kumar, Chief Economist at the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, commented on yesterday’s inflation figures
IFG - Government must act on public inquiry recommendations14/12/2017 11:35:00
Government has spent £639m on public inquiries over the last 30 years and increasingly relies on them to examine major incidents and tragedies. But a new report finds that the process for following up on recommendations is inadequate.
Demos - New research finds Brits believe citizens, not state, should pay for retirement14/12/2017 10:35:00
A new report from Demos think tank shows that more than 57 per cent of the public believe that the individual has greater responsibility than the Government in meeting the costs of their care. And yet, the research reveals that there is a gap between citizens’ expectations and the realities of the preparations they will be able to make for their futures.
JRF - Low-paid sectors hit hard by falling real wages14/12/2017 09:35:00
Ashwin Kumar, Chief Economist at the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, responded to yesterday’s labour market statistics