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Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 211133, tabled on 22 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that fishing limits are set in line with scientific recommendations.

Answered on

28 January 2019

Scientific advice received from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) about the condition of fish stocks underpins the process of negotiating sustainable total allowable catches (TACs). The UK position is developed under the principle that all proposals must be scientifically justified in light of ICES advice, and deliver UK objectives for sustainable fisheries.

We also draw on bespoke scientific advice when developing specific management measures. For example scientists at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) evaluated a proposed package of technical measures for a previously overexploited Nephrops stock in the Farn Deeps, and advised how the package might reduce fishing mortality. Following the introduction of measures informed by this scientific advice, the stock is now being fished within maximum sustainable yield levels.

The UK has always been a strong advocate for MSY both in international agreements and in negotiations over catch limits for stocks that we have an interest in. We remain therefore committed to continuing to work under the principle of MSY and restore stocks to healthy conditions as quickly as possible, including taking a precautionary approach where necessary. This commitment is confirmed by the Fisheries Bill.

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