Fisheries: Quota allocation and management in 2021 and beyond: England and the Crown Dependencies

Closed 10 Nov 2020

Opened 13 Oct 2020

Overview

In January 2021, at the end of the transition period, the UK will be an independent coastal State with rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to control and manage the resources in our waters. We will have left the Common Fisheries Policy and will no longer be bound by the EU’s outdated method for sharing fishing opportunities. We are committed to moving away from relative stability to a fairer share of fishing opportunities for our fishing industry across the British Isles.

We will be negotiating with the EU and other coastal States this year on 2021 fishing opportunities, including quotas, for shared fish stocks. There will be negotiations in future years for fishing opportunities beyond 2021.

We aim to secure additional quota in these negotiations - over and above what we had before we left the EU – and we need to be ready to allocate any additional quota we secure. However, we will not know what precise stocks and tonnages we will have in 2021 until negotiations conclude later this year.

This additional quota provides us with an ideal opportunity to explore alternate methods for allocating and managing quota. Quota management is complex, and actions taken over the years have had unintended consequences. We aim to move carefully and avoid radical reforms which could lead to unintended consequences and potentially be destabilising for industry. We will also apply some of the lessons we have learned to date. We envisage this work being an iterative process which will see us trial, evaluate and refine methods over a period of time.

Please refer to the PDF version of the consultation document below to view the annexes.

Why we are consulting

This consultation is about how we use this quota in England and the Crown Dependencies. For simplicity, we just refer to England throughout the rest of this document.

This is an opportunity for you to help shape and influence our quota policy in England and the Crown Dependencies in 2021 and beyond. 

This consultation builds upon our previous engagement.

In our 2018 fisheries white paper, Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations we set out plans to promote a more competitive, profitable and sustainable fishing industry across the whole of the UK and to set a gold standard for sustainable fishing. The responses we received to the white paper showed no consensus for how quota should be allocated in future.

Following publication of that white paper, we held a call for evidence in 2019 about how we should use additional quota in England. We received 36 responses to that call for evidence from a range of sources including producer organisations, individual fishermen and environmental organisations. Again, there was no consensus about how we should use additional quota. Views on the positive and negative aspects of our current quota allocation and management methods were varied and at times conflicting.

We followed that call for evidence with an informal scoping exercise earlier this year. This exercise focused on prioritising aims and methods for allocating additional quota. In total we received 20 individual responses from fishermen and fishing companies, producer organisations and other industry representatives. We also further held a wider range of informal conversations with stakeholders. Again, there was no consensus about how any additional quota should be used but some themes did emerge.

We expect our approach will evolve over time as we trial, evaluate and refine methods. This means that how we allocate and manage quota in 2021 may differ from that in future years. It also covers our aims for quota more broadly, the future of the English quota reserve and future English quota management trials.

At the same time, we are consulting separately on how we apportion this additional quota between the UK fisheries administrations. The devolved administrations are responsible for allocating quota in their parts of the UK.

We are also consulting separately on the future of the economic link in England.

What happens next

A summary of responses to this consultation will be published on the Government website at: www.gov.uk/defra. An annex to the consultation summary will list all organisations that responded but will not include personal names, addresses or other contact details.

The response to the consultation will be communicated before the start of the 2021 fishing year.

Audiences

  • All Marine Users
  • Fisheries Producer Organisations
  • Fishermen

Interests

  • Fish stocks
  • Marine fisheries