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					RESEARCH PAPER

01/20 12 December 2001

Sea Fishing

This paper is intended to provide a description of the fishing industry in Scotland, the Scottish fishing fleet, its structure, catches and fishing grounds. The paper also gives an overview of the European Union Common Fisheries Policy, and a flavour of the current debate over its reform.

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SUMMARY
In 2000 the Scottish fleet landed 520,000 tonnes of fish worth £330 million, over half the UK total. Scotland has 9 of the 15 most important fishing ports in the UK and some of the richest fishing grounds in EC waters are off the Scottish coast. The Scottish fleet had more than 2,500 vessels in 2000, and breaks down into three sections based on size of boats, fishing methods and fish caught: • • • The inshore fleet has the smallest boats and fishes the mixed fishery in Scotland’s coastal waters concentrating on shellfish The whitefish fleet catches Cod and Haddock by trawling on fishing grounds further out in the North Sea and off the West coast The pelagic fleet has the largest boats and catch very large volumes of Herring and Mackerel

Fishing in the EU has been managed since the early 1970’s through a Common Fisheries Policy. The policy has some derogations from a general principle of open access to fishing resources which are important to Scottish fishermen: 6 and 12 mile inshore fisheries limits, and restrictions on fishing in the North Sea and in waters off the Shetland Isles. The CFP has 4 main elements: • • • • Conservation of fish stocks by controlling the amount and type of fish which are landed Structural policy to control fishing effort and at the same time ensure the economic viability of fishing activities Controlling the price of fish (thought this element is much less important than for the Common Agricultural Policy) Negotiating fishing opportunities for the Community fleet with third countries.

The CFP is currently undergoing a phase of reform which is due to be completed next year. The European Commission has produced a Green paper which identifies many of the problems with the current policy, to which the UK has given a concerted response. One of the main issues is the need to cut fishing effort in some sectors of the Community fleet to allow overexploited fish stocks, e.g. Cod in the North Sea, a chance to recover before they collapse totally. Sea fishing is the last major wild resource which man exploits by hunting. Worldwide catches of wild fish have quadrupled in the last half century, and over half of all fish stocks are at or beyond maximum sustainable levels of exploitation. There is a growing recognition of the need to consider the impacts of fishing on marine ecosystems as a whole, and this is recognised in the Reykjavik Declaration on integrating an ecosystem approach into fisheries management.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE SCOTTISH FISHING INDUSTRY...................................................................4
Fishing Ports ...................................................................................................................................... 4 Where are the fishing grounds? ...................................................................................................... 5 Structure of the fleet and fishing methods..................................................................................... 6 Fish catches .......................................................................................................................................8 Whats the price of fish? ..................................................................................................................... 10

THE COMMON FISHERIES POLICY: CFP ........................................................ 11
Potted history ................................................................................................................................... 11 Access to waters and resources ................................................................................................... 13 Inshore fishing: 6 and 12 mile zones ................................................................................................. 14 Access to the North Sea and the Shetland box ................................................................................ 15 Zonal management............................................................................................................................ 15 Conservation of fish stocks ........................................................................................................... 15 Fishing Quotas ................................................................................................................................... 15 Relative stability and Hague Preferences ................................................................................ 16 Trade in Quota .......................................................................................................................... 17 Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) ..................................................................................... 17 Technical Conservation Measures .................................................................................................... 17 Joining up Conservation Measures: the Cod Recovery Plan in the North Sea ................................ 17 Structural policy............................................................................................................................... 18 Fleet Policy and Multi Annual Guidance Programmes (MAGP) ....................................................... 18 Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) ......................................................................... 19 Organisation of the market............................................................................................................. 20 Agreements with third countries ................................................................................................... 20 Fishing in the North Sea, agreements with Norway.......................................................................... 20

DISCUSSION: FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS IN WORLD FISHERIES............ 21

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THE SCOTTISH FISHING INDUSTRY
In the year 2000 Scottish based fishing vessels landed just over 520,000 tonnes of fish with a market value of £330 million1. A recent parliamentary answer2 highlights the importance of the Scottish Fishing Fleet within the UK:
Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of (a) fishermen, (b) vessels and (c) value of catch of the UK fishing fleet is (a) English and (b) Scottish. Mr. Morley: The available information is set out in the table. England UK fishing 3 fleet (at end 1999) Number of (7) fishermen Regular Part-time Total Number of fishing vessels (8) 12 metre and under Over 12 (8) metre Total Value landings million) 1999 of (£ 184 31 345 59 588 100 Percentage Scotland Percentage UK total Percentage

5,298 933 6,231

41 31 39

6,042 1,288 7,330

47 43 46

12,970 2,991 15,961

100 100 100

3,341 381 3,722

54 29 50

1,833 698 2,531

30 54 34

6,151 1,297 4,778

100 100 100

FISHING PORTS
The diagram below shows the most important fishing ports in the UK:

1

Scottish Executive News Release Seafish landings published 27 August 2001 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/pages/news/2001/09/SE4059.aspx 2 rd HC Deb 23 April 2001 c40w 3 Excludes Channel Islands and Isle of Man

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Fig. 1 Top 12 UK Ports 2000 (Landings by UK and Foreign vessels)

Source: Seafish Industry Authority

WHERE ARE THE FISHING GROUNDS?
The figure below shows spot locations of UK and foreign fishing vessels over a three-month period and gives a good indication of the main areas of fishing activity in the seas around Scotland. The bold line shows the limit to UK territorial waters:

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Fig 2. Spot Locations of Fishing Vessels over a 3 month period

Source SFPA Annual Report 1999-00

STRUCTURE OF THE FLEET AND FISHING METHODS
The Scottish fleet comprised 2,580 vessels as at the end of 2000. The fleet breaks down into three main groups, according to the size of their ships, and the fish which they pursue. The inshore fleet has the smallest boats (many of them less than 10m in length) which pursue mixed fisheries around Scotland’s coasts, concentrating on shellfish, mainly by creel fishing (over 1500 boats) or dredging4 the bottom for scallops and queens. The diagram shows scallop dredges assembled on a tow bar which lift the scallops off the seabed and catch them in net bags:

4

The pictures of different fishing methods are taken from an Executive publication, a Fishing Industry Guide to Offshore Operations: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library3/fisheries/figoo-00.asp which has more pictures of other fishing methods.

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The whitefish fleet pursue the mixed demersal fisheries on grounds further out into the North Sea and off the West Coast. Demersal fish live on or just off the bottom of the sea bed. The most important species for Scottish fishermen are Cod, Haddock and Whiting. There are 550 boats in the Scottish demersal fleet, concentrated in the fishing ports of the North-East coast such as Fraserburgh and Peterhead. These boats are intermediate in size, typically between 20-25 metres in length. The main fishing method is trawling nets along the sea-bed, as the diagram below shows:

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The pelagic fleet has the largest vessels, most of which are over 50m in length. Pelagic fish shoal together in the middle of the water column, so this is a “clean” rather than a mixed fishery (the vast majority of the catch being of one target species). There are around 40 pelagic boats in the Scottish fleet, which catch large volumes of these lower value fish. The picture below shows a pelagic boat “purse seining”, deploying a large volume of net to encircle a shoal of fish, found by echo location using a fish finder:

FISH CATCHES5
The Inshore fleet prosecute a mixed fishery with a wide range of species. For the whitefish fleet, the most important fish are Cod, Haddock, Whiting and Norway Lobsters (Nephrops), but also flatfish like Plaice and Sole (spp), Monkfish (Anglers) and Halibut. The Fishery is not seasonal, and a mix of different fish is caught throughout the year. Pelagic fishing in Scotland has seasonal peaks concentrating on Mackerel (JanMar), Blue Whiting (April) and Herring (July-Aug).

5

Detailed tables of catches in different sectors of the fleet, catches of different species, and landings in different ports are published annually by the Executive in Scottish Fisheries Statistics http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library3/fisheries/sfs2-00.asp

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Table 1 Weight and Value of landings of the most important species from Scottish boats in 20006.
Liveweight (tonnes) Shellfish Norway lobster Scallops Total Demersal Haddock Cod Whiting Monkfish Total Pelagic Mackerel Herring Blue whiting Total Value (£'000)

10,516 9,667 39,959

Norway lobster Scallops Total

24,902 15,553 61,138

45,880 23,240 19,266 11,216 146,913

Haddock Cod Monkfish Whiting Total

46,532 32,942 26,473 11,986 170,291

170,700 64,960 42,497 302,493

Mackerel Herring Horse mackerel Total

53,458 7,246 2,985 67,739

So called “industrial fishing” for species like sandeels and sprats which are used to make fishmeal for animal feed is unimportant to the Scottish fleet, but is significant in the total proportion of catches from the North Sea, particularly for the Danish fleet. In dustrial fishing is often criticised because it removes the feed source for other more valuable fish (and seabirds). A recent article in the Fishing News illustrated some of the problems associated with industrial fishing:
On 4 September the Benny Dorthe of Thyboron landed at her home port with 543 tonnes of what were reported as sandeels. But the Danish Inspectorate, after taking several samples of the catch, found that only 59% was sandeels. The other 41% consisted of several other species, including 21% haddock equivalent to 114 tonnes. The vessel’s industrial fishing license was suspended for one month, although she was still permitted to fish for human consumption species. The Danish Fishermen’s Ecological Network that the average size of the haddock was probably around 100 grams per individual (the legal MLS is equivalent to about 170g) “On that assumption, it means that 1,140,000 individual haddock have been caught and reduced to meal and oil for a price of 1 Danish kroner per kg” said the organisations Knud Anderson. “When longliners catch their haddock it is a high quality white fish product and the price is 18 DKr per kg. The fish has a chance to reproduce itself several times and weighs 7 on average 800 grams
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A Scottish Registered Vessel is one which is registered on the UK register of Seamen and Shipping at a Scottish Port. Scottish boats land the bulk of their catch in Scottish ports but also land a small proportion into other UK ports, and other European ports, depending on where they have been fishing. Source: Scottish Fisheries Statistics 2000 7 th Fishing News 19 October 2001, p 1.

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WHATS THE PRICE OF FISH? As indicated above the price fishermen receive for their fish varies according to the species. This in turn drives the economies of scale of the fishing industry, and is reflected in the earnings of the fishermen themselves. Table 2:Average Prices of Main Fish Species 1992-998
Average 1992-99 (£/tonne) Shellfish Lobster Norway lobsters Scallops Whitefish Halibut Monks Lemon sole Hake Cod Plaice Haddock Whiting Pelagic Mackerel Herring Horse mackerel Blue whiting

9614 2130 1633

3467 2491 2057 1608 1217 1070 765 568

232 112 112 52

However, the earnings per boat are inversely related to the price of fish caught, with the large pelagic boats making the most, followed by the whitefish fleet, and with the lowest earnings in the inshore fleet9.

8 9

Source: Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 1999 For further information on earnings in the Fishing fleet see Seafish: Fishermen’s Handbook: Costs and earnings of the United Kingdom Fishing Vessel Fleet 1997/98

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THE COMMON FISHERIES POLICY: CFP
POTTED HISTORY
The EEC-610 agreed the first CFP in 1970, on the same day which accession negotiations with the UK, Denmark, Norway and Ireland began. Sir Con O’Neill was the official in charge of negotiating the British entry to the EEC, in his report on the negotiations he explains:
When our negotiations opened, the problem of fisheries did not exist; but we saw it coming. It came later the same day. From then on fisheries was a major problem. At first, we did not realise how strong the political passions would be which it was to arouse. It became in the end one of the most important as well as one of the most difficult questions in the whole negotiation; and it was the last to be solved. It was a question which produced serious difficulties not only with the Community but between the Candidate countries. As political pressures within the United Kingdom grew stronger, and as the complications caused by Norways special position increased, we ourselves changed objective more than once. In the end we got what we needed; but failure to do so could have meant failure to enter the Community at all. [as it did for Norway] 2. The question of fisheries was economic peanuts, but political dynamite. Its economic significance is shown in the following table: VALUE OF OUTPUT OF FISHERIES SECTOR AS A PERCENTAGE OF GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT AT FACTOR COST IN 1970 % 1.5 0.6 0.3 (in 1969) 0.1

Norway Denmark Irish Republic UK

The reasons for its enormous political significance, which came more and more to the surface in 1970 and 1971, were much more complicated. In a way they go rather deep into the ancient tribal feelings of the European nations. Sea fisheries remain the only significant form of developed countries which are a form not of harvesting or processing, but of 11 hunting.

The initial CFP agreed before UK entry was based around the principle of open access to fisheries (excepting a three mile coastal band reserved to inshore fishermen) and introduced measures which could be used to restrict fishing effort, and provide support for the fisheries sector through market and structural measures. The 1970s saw further increases to fisheries limits, with Iceland declaring an exclusive 200 mile limit in 1976, following the so-called “cod-wars”. The EEC responded to this by agreeing a similar 200 mile limit to Community waters at the Hague Conference in the same year.

10 11

Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy & Luxembourg O’Neill, Sir Con – 1972, Britains Entry into the European Community, Report on the Negotiations of 197072, Chapter 25, Sea Fisheries: The Background p245.

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The Accession treaty signed on the entry of the UK had a ten-year derogation in respect of the CFP which applied to all Member States, such that the policy would only come into operation after 31st December 1982. For the remainder of the 1970s and early 1980s the main element of the debate on fisheries policy was over what would be appropriate fisheries limits. The UK’s priorities were not wholly reflected in the eventual settlement. The UK government initially advocated an exclusive 50 mile limit, and then changed to an exclusive 12 mile limit, with dominant preference for UK fishermen in catches in the 12-50 mile zone. Ultimately, the position agreed on fisheries limits within Community waters was that which remains today: the sea within 6 miles of the coast is reserved for the fishermen of the coastal state. Between 6 and 12 miles access is only allowed to fishermen from other countries who have traditionally fished in that area. In 1983 the EEC reached agreement on the CFP. Four pillars for the policy were established, which remain today, these are: • • • • Conservation of fish stocks Structures (fleet policy, investment in ports and processing facilities) Common Organisation of the Market in Fisheries Products Fisheries agreements with third countries

A key event in the history of Community fisheries policy was the accession to the EU of Spain and Portugal in 1985. Spain has the largest fishing fleet in the Community, and limited fishing opportunities around her own coasts. Part of the agreement allowing the accession of Spain was designed to prevent Spanish access to new fishing grounds. Fishing by Spanish vessels off the west coasts of Ireland and the UK was restricted to a fixed number of boats. The Spanish and Portuguese fleets were prevented from fishing in the North Sea (the richest fishing grounds in Community waters) until 2003 at the earliest. Further reforms in 1992 extended the scope of the CFP beyond the management of fisheries resources to all living aquatic resources and covered all Community waters and all EC vessels. They also introduced aquaculture into the CFP and renewed the particular access arrangements designed to safeguard the needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries until 2002. Subsequent sections give an overview of the four pillars of the CFP as they stand, and give a flavour of the debate on how the policy should be reformed next year. The European Commission’s Green Paper12 itself gives a good indication of the at times contradictory objectives of the CFP:
The CFP is confronted with a number of objectives and legal requirements which sometimes may seem contradictory or incompatible, in particular, in the short-term. As it stands today, the CFP aims at: -ensuring the conservation of increasingly fragile fish stocks while promoting the continuation of fishing activities;

12

European Commission – 2001, Green Paper, The future of the common fisheries policy, Volume I, p.6 http://europa.eu.int/comm/fisheries/greenpaper/green1_en.htm#volume1

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-modernising the means of production while limiting fishing effort; -ensuring the proper implementation of conservation measures while Member States retain responsibility in the field of monitoring and sanctions; -maintaining employment while reducing fleet capacity; -ensuring a decent income for fishermen even though the Community's own supply of fish products is declining and the EU market depends more heavily on imports each year; and -acquiring fishing rights in the waters of third countries without threatening the sustainable exploitation of fisheries. It is now time to think more clearly about the objectives of the CFP and to prioritise them.

The Scottish Parliament’s European Committee set out its perspective on Scottish Priorities for the reforms:
Some basic principles We believe that the current situation is untenable. In light of this, we recommend that the CFP is reformed but we do not wish to see it scrapped as we believe that fishing stocks need to be managed on a cross-national basis. The termination of the CFP would not be desirable and would require a change to the Treaty. We propose that the CFP should be reformed to provide for the adoption of a decentralised approach towards fisheries management, with the establishment of zonal management committees (e.g. for the North Sea) which should be inclusive, reflect subsidiarity and after an appropriate transition period have delegated decision-making powers. The detail of zonal 13 management needs to be developed further at the earliest opportunity .

ACCESS TO WATERS AND RESOURCES
Because they are wild, sea fish are a common access resource, and it is the right to fish for them, rather than the fish themselves which are owned. Debate over fisheries policy therefore revolves around access to fishing opportunities. The ideal of the European Union is free access between Member States to shared resources. In fisheries this has been difficult to achieve thus far, and there are various restrictions on open-access still in force. These access restrictions will end on 31st December 2002 if not renewed through the current reform of the CFP. The UK response to the Green Paper14 is strongly supportive of retaining the status quo on access provisions:
- access restrictions within the six-twelve mile zones based on recognition of historic fishing rights: a continuation of existing restrictions is widely supported in the Council. We welcome the Commission’s stated intention to propose their extension. At the same time, the fact that these restrictions are seen as a derogation from the principles of the CFP and so require renewal every ten years leads to unnecessary concern and uncertainty in the fishing industry and alarmist comments from critics of the CFP. The UK believes that the time has come to make these access restrictions permanent, given their importance in safeguarding local inshore fishing communities. At the least, they should be extended for twenty years.
13

SP EC 3 Report 2001, Reforming the Common Fisheries Policy: a Blueprint for negotiations (Volume I) 14 UK Paper on the Commission’s Green Paper on the 2002 Review of the CFP

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The remainder of this section summarises the main issues over access to fishing opportunities in which Scottish Fishermen have an interest. INSHORE FISHING: 6 AND 12 MILE ZONES As explained above, fishing within 6 miles of the coast is reserved to fishermen from the coastal state, and between 6 and 12 miles, foreign fishermen only have access based on historic entitlements. The map below shows the inshore fishing around the UK, and the areas where foreign fishermen have access: Fig 3: EC Fishing Rights in the UK: 6 to 12 mile band

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ACCESS TO THE NORTH SEA AND THE SHETLAND BOX The Green Paper explains the current provisions on the Shetland Box and Access to the North Sea:
The legal restrictions of access to the North Sea [preventing access by the Spanish and Portuguese fleets] waters end on 31 December 2002. However, as all fisheries for species of commercial interest are regulated by TAC and quota regimes, access to resources is limited to fleets which hold quotas. Possible illegal fishing should be closely monitored. The Shetland Box was created because species in this region are biologically sensitive by reason of their exploitation characteristics. The setting up of the Box also played an important role in reaching acceptance of the equilibrium established between the different fleets and fishing communities. Developments in the stocks in this area do not allow for any increase in fishing effort and the Commission considers that the current restrictions on fishing activities should be maintained. Nevertheless improved scientific advice for possible adjustments of the regime is required.

ZONAL MANAGEMENT Another view to come out of discussions on the management of the CFP is that some of the management functions and responsibility for decision making should be devolved to “zonal management committees”. This approach has been advocated by the UK Fishermen’s Federations15:
It is the joint belief of the Federations that the deficiencies of the CFP can be repaired by: • Decentralising the management of the Common European Fishery. • Ensuring Participation of all the legitimate interests operating in a decentralised zone. • Re-designing the political structure governing European Fisheries.

The need to better involve fishermen and other stakeholders in the decision making process is recognised in the Green Paper, and in the UK response.

CONSERVATION OF FISH STOCKS
FISHING QUOTAS A central instrument of the CFP is the setting of Total Allowable Catches (TAC) or fishing quotas which fix for each year the amount of fish16 each Member State can land. Quotas are set annually at the December Council of Fisheries Ministers17. The diagram18 below shows the annual cycle of setting TACs:

15

16

17

18

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), and National Fishermen’s Federation (NFFO), see Zonal Management: a New Vision for Europe’s Fisheries http://www.nffo.org.uk/pdf/Zonal.pdf For fish for which fishing quota is required. For certain “deep-water” species, fishing quotas are not required at present The 2000 Fisheries Council and the quota setting process was described in a previous SPICe Research Note 01-05 Taken from Fisheries Research Service information sheet “How Fish Quotas are agreed”: http://www.marlab.ac.uk/InfoPDF/02R.pdf

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One suggestion which has been widely discussed is to set multi-annual quotas. Fishermen are supportive of this idea, as it would allow them to make longer-term plans. The UK view is that:
The precautionary approach now makes it easier to move forward on the basis of multiannual management strategies for some stocks, rather than annual TAC setting, which can be subject to too much volatility.

Relative stability and Hague Preferences One of the guiding principles of the quota system is that of relative sustainability. This means that when EC quotas are shared out, the division is based on the historic proportion of quota to which each Member State has been entitled. This is significant in the case of access to the North Sea. From 1st January 2002, the Spanish fleet will technically have access to the fishing grounds of the North Sea. However, it is unlikely to be able to fish there, as because of relative stability, it will not have access to quotas. As part of the deal-making when the CFP was first formulated, the UK and Ireland hold “Hague Preferences”, that is to say, they can exercise a right to gain a better share of stocks when quotas are low. The following extract from a FAQ on Hague Preferences explains the guiding principle:
Q1. What is the Hague Preference? A1. The Hague Preference is a mechanism whereby the UK and Ireland may attempt to recoup a limited amount of quota of a limited number of stocks from other Member States when their quota share would otherwise fall below a critical trigger level. Q2. What is it designed to do? A2. At the time of the development of the Common Fisheries Policy (i.e. in the years up to 1983), it was recognised that there were UK and Irish regions that were particularly reliant on fisheries. The system of Hague Preference was designed to guarantee these regions a 19 minimum level of access to fish stocks .

19

MAFF (2000) FAQ on Hague preferences

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Unsurprisingly, the UK response to the Green Paper is strong on the retention of both relative stability and Hague preference20. Trade in Quota Currently, quota for EC fishermen is seen as a permit, a right granted in time to exploit a resource. There is some recognition of fishermen’s “ownership” of quota. This is achieved by linking quota units to fishing licenses. It is not possible to hold quota without a license, and it is not possible to fish without quota. Periodically exchange of quota between fishermen is recognised in reconciliation’s between licenses and quota units. Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) Another approach to this, for example in Iceland, has been to create a much freer trade in quota, rather like the trade in livestock quotas in the UK. A potential problem with this is that if the trade were totally uncontrolled, economies of scale might mean that all the quota would be bought up by a few larger boats. This could reduce employment opportunities in the fishing industry. TECHNICAL CONSERVATION MEASURES In tandem with the TAC there is also a minimum landing size set for each quota species. Fish below the specified size cannot be landed and must be thrown back into the sea, “discarded”. Very few small fish which are caught survive, and the policy is somewhat unpopular as fishermen feel it reduces their catch without any real benefit to fish stocks. To reduce discards, the Community fleet is required to adopt certain “technical conservation measures”. Regulations set out minimum mesh sizes, and twine thicknesses for a number of types of fishing gears. One problem is that the diamond mesh of a standard net closes when it is pulled through the water, preventing fish from escaping. Square mesh panels have been introduced at the back of the net near the cod-end (the tip of the net), which allow small fish to swim up and out of the net without being caught21. JOINING UP CONSERVATION MEASURES: THE COD RECOVERY PLAN IN THE NORTH SEA In response to falling cod stocks in the North Sea the European Community (see graph below) and Norwegian fleets have agreed a package of measures under a Cod Recovery Programme in three stages:
The first stage involved the emergency measures consisting of closed areas to all cod fisheries during the spawning season. This was to slow down uptake of cod quotas and to allow the possibility of obtaining every possible recruit from the reproductive activity of this year's spawning stock.
20 21

opp cit, para 11 Detailed guidance on the operation of the square-mesh panel is available on the Scottish Executive website: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library3/fisheries/hadd.pdf

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The second relates to technical measures, adopted in October 2001, to increase the selectivity of fishing gears in order to reduce catches of juveniles and control measures to ensure effective implementation. The third and final stage will involve the presentation by the Commission, at the end of 2001, of a comprehensive proposal to the Council and the Parliament, for long-term measures to 22 help stocks recover .

Fig 3. Catches of Cod in the North Sea, Total European Economic Area Fleet and UK Fleet 1973-99
350000

300000

250000

200000 UK EEA 150000

100000

50000

0
19 73 19 74 19 75 19 76 19 77 19 78 19 79 19 80 19 81 19 82 19 83 19 84 19 85 19 86 19 87 19 88 19 89 19 90 19 91 19 92 19 93 19 94 19 95 19 96 19 97 19 98 19 99

Source: Eurostat Fishery Statistics

STRUCTURAL POLICY
Many, including the Commission, have identified overcapacity in the EU fleet as being the root cause of many of the problems facing the EU’s fisheries. In addition to the Conservation measures outlined above, the CFP has a fleet policy which aims to match fishing effort to fish stocks. A fundamental aspiration of the CFP is that fishing activities are economically viable. However investment in the Community fleet has to be carefully balanced against the need to reduce exploitation of sensitive fish stocks. FLEET POLICY AND MULTI ANNUAL GUIDANCE PROGRAMMES (MAGP) There have been four MAGP to date, the current programme runs until the end of this year. Each one sets targets for each Member State to reduce the number of boats in their fleet. Member states are allowed to support this by offering structural
22

Similar programmes have been instituted for Cod off the West of Scotland and in the Irish Sea, and for Northern Hake. Full descriptions of the measures are provided on the European Commission Fisheries DG web-site.

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funding for decommissioning schemes. One problem with fleet policy is that structural funding has also been made available for improving boats, as well as the investments fishermen make themselves, resulting in “technological creep” which has counterbalanced the removal of boats from the fleet. The Green Paper acknowledges this:
• • The current fleet is much too large. Technological progress is increasing the efficiency of fishing vessels and it undermines the efforts of capacity reduction programmes. The Multi-Annual Guidance Programmes (MAGPs) were set by the Council at levels that were not ambitious enough to address the problem of excess capacity effectively and have often not been enforced. They were also complex to administer. Subsidies for construction/modernisation and running costs may have aggravated the 23 current situation .

•

FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT FOR FISHERIES GUIDANCE (FIFG) Fishermen and Fishing Communities may also be eligible for funding from other EU funds, such as the European Social Fund, but FIFG is the most important24. Rather like the Rural Development Regulation for Agriculture, the FIFG provides a “menu” of titles for offering support to the fisheries sector. Each Member State must then present a reasoned case to the Commission in each programming period (the present one runs from 1999-2006) explaining its priorities for fisheries aid. Scotland has two programmes that run concurrently. One covers the Highlands and Islands Transitional Objective 2 area, the other the rest of Scotland. For this programming period, Scotland chose to give aid to: the adjustment of fishing effort (to comply with MAGP requirements); aid for fleet renewal and improvements; investment in marketing, processing, aquaculture, and port facilities; and other support measures, such as support for safety training, and electronic marketing facilities. The UK response to the Green Paper is explicit in its view on support for the Fisheries sector:
The UK strongly agrees with the Commission’s clear analysis of the negative and distorting effects of subsidies. This has helped to delay the adjustments needed in fleet capacity; has encouraged uneconomic investment; and added to pressure on scarce stocks. We regret the Council’s failure to address this key issue in the revision of the FIFG adopted in 2000 and the Commission’s willingness to dilute its original proposals in the interests of securing agreement. In the meantime, the problem has not gone away. We welcome the Commission’s recognition that the need to rebalance FIFG expenditure and remove counterproductive incentives to capital construction will have to be fully addressed in the course of 25 the Review .

23 24

Opp cit 3.3 Council Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999 of 17 December 1999 laying down the detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector (OJ L 337 of 30.12.1999) 25 opp cit, para 6

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ORGANISATION OF THE MARKET
Rather like the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the CFP has a system for guaranteeing prices of fisheries products though this system is much less important in fisheries than it is in agriculture. As per the CAP, the system works by setting a common guide price for certain fish species. Boxes of fish falling below this price are bought off the market by intervention buyers.

AGREEMENTS WITH THIRD COUNTRIES
The final pillar of the CFP is the negotiation of fishing opportunities in third countries which the Commission undertake on behalf of Member States. The EC pays so-called “third countries” for this. Particularly important for certain sections of the fleet are agreements with African countries, for example the recent breakdown of agreements with Morrocco caused large numbers of Spanish and Portuguese boats to be laid off, with aid being redirected into a tie-up scheme26. FISHING IN THE NORTH SEA, AGREEMENTS WITH NORWAY The annual agreement of fishing opportunities with Norway is of great importance to Scottish Fishermen. Before TACs for the North Sea can be shared out between Member States, a deal has to be struck with Norway27.

26

see e.g. Commission proposes to extend compensation for fleets affected by non-renewal of Fisheries Agreement with Morocco to 30 June http://europa.eu.int/comm/fisheries/news_corner/press/inf01_07_en.htm 27 see EU news release Conclusions of the Fisheries Consultations with Norway for 2001 http://europa.eu.int/comm/fisheries/news_corner/press/inf00_31_en.htm

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RP 01-20 Sea Fishing.doc

DISCUSSION: FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS IN WORLD FISHERIES
World fish catches have increased by more than 4 times in the last half-century, from 18 million tonnes in 1950 to 93 million tonnes in 199728. On the status of fish stocks the FAO explain:
Among the major marine fish stocks or groups of stocks for which information is available, an estimated 25 to 27 percent are underexploited or moderately exploited and thus represent the main potential source for expansion of total capture fisheries production. About 47 to 50 percent of stocks are fully exploited and are, therefore, producing catches that have either reached or are very close to their maximum limits, with no room expected for further expansion. Another 15 to 18 percent are overexploited and have no potential for further increase. Moreover, there is an increasing likelihood that catches from these stocks will decrease if remedial action is not taken to reduce or revert overfishing conditions. Only then will sustained higher catches be possible. The remaining 9 to 10 percent of stocks have 29 been depleted or are recovering from depletion.

A key element which informs current thinking behind the debate on the reform of the world fisheries policy is the Ecosystem approach, agreed at the Reykjavik Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem, October 1-4, 2001. As the conference web-site (http://www.refisheries2001.org) explains:
The Conference was jointly organised by the Government of Iceland and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations with the co-sponsorship of the Government of Norway. The objectives of the Conference were to gather and review the best available knowledge on marine ecosystem issues, identify means by which ecosystem considerations can be included in capture fisheries management and identify future challenges and strategies.

The conference adopted the Reykjavik declaration on responsible fisheries management. The parties:
Aware that the sustainable use of living marine resources contributes substantially to human food security, as well as dietary variety, provides for the livelihood of millions of people and is a central pillar of many national economies. Declare that, in an effort to reinforce responsible and sustainable fisheries in the marine ecosystem, we will individually and collectively work on incorporating ecosystem considerations into that management to that aim. AND REQUEST that the Government of Iceland convey this Declaration to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Chairman of the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in September 2002 and relevant fisheries management organizations for their consideration.

28

FAO – 2000 The state of world fisheries and aquaculture, Part I, World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture 29 Ibid

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RP 01-20 Sea Fishing.doc

Further discussion of some of the problems facing the sea-fishing industries of the world is provided in an article by Cury and Cayre (2000)30:
Man has been domesticating plants and animals for 10,000 years. Domestication increased so that 2000 years ago, following the “Neolithic” or “food producing” revolution, the overwhelming majority of people were making a living from farming. Nowadays hunting, an uncertain way of collecting food, has shifted from a survival activity to a secondary (and most often recreational) activity. Within less than a century, marine fisheries, which constitute the last major world industry exploiting wild animal resources, have reached many ecological and economic limits and they face many uncertainties. In the context of generalised overexploitation, fishing could rapidly follow the same history as hunting and become a marginal activity for the collection of luxury items. This is not only a major concern for the future of an important food source, it also seriously questions our ability to preserve our last and unique relationship with renewable wild animal resources. If we do not want fisheries to be the counterpart of hunting, fisheries and fisheries research need to be modernised in a way amenable to integrating new objectives, paradigms and ethical concerns. As scientists, we must direct our efforts toward reconciling long-term environmental objectives and shortterm constraints by defining new indicators and reference points for management. Will we be able to initiate a “human and wild food reconciliation” revolution?

Research Notes are compiled for the benefit of Members of Parliament and their personal staff. Authors are available to discuss the contents of these papers with Members and their staff but cannot advise members of the general public.

30

Cury P, and Cayre, P (2001) Hunting became a secondary activity 2000 years ago: marine fishing did the same in 2021, Fish and Fisheries, 2 162-69 (quote is from the abstract)

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