EU-UK fishing opportunities

Brussels 23.12.2021 The Council has approved an agreement between the EU and the UK on fishing opportunities for 2022, paving the way for EU fishermen and women to exercise their fishing rights in the Atlantic and the North Sea.

The decision determines fishing rights for around 100 shared fish stocks in EU and UK waters, including the total allowable catch (TAC) limit for each species.

At the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 12-13 December, ministers set provisional TACs for fish stocks shared with the UK pending the outcome of the EU-UK consultations; these catch limits will be amended to take account of the new agreement.

The regulation on fishing opportunities for 2022 – including the amendment containing the final quotas – will be finalised by the Council’s legal and linguistic experts, following which it will be formally adopted by the Council and published in the Official Journal. The provisions will apply retroactively as of 1 January 2022.

Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, fish stocks jointly managed by the EU and the UK are considered shared resources under international law. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the two parties sets out the terms under which the EU and the UK determine their respective fishing rights in the Atlantic and North Sea.

Under the TCA, both parties agree to hold annual talks with a view to determining TACs and quotas for the following year. Consultations are led by the Commission and take into account a number of factors, including:
the international obligations
the recommended maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for each species, to ensure the long-term sustainability of fishing in line with the common fisheries policy
the best available scientific advice, with a precautionary approach taken where such advice is not available
the need to protect the livelihoods of fishermen and women
The Council provides political guidance to the Commission throughout the negotiation process and formally endorses the final agreement.

The UK has concluded annual fisheries negotiations with the EU, providing certainty for the fishing industry on catch limits for 2022.

“We have now concluded negotiations with the EU, setting catch levels for 2022. As an independent coastal State, we entered discussions representing the interests of the entire UK fishing industry and have secured certainty for the incoming year” Environment Secretary George Eustice said.

The UK-EU catch limits, known as Total Allowable Catches, have been agreed for around 70 fish stocks. They will provide around 140,000 tonnes of fishing opportunities for the UK fleet, estimated to be worth around £313 million, based on historic landing prices.

The agreement also commits the UK and the EU to rapidly develop multi-year strategies for non-quota species, to ensure sustainable management of these stocks. The UK and the EU exceptionally agreed not to apply tonnage limits for non-quota stocks in 2022, meaning that non-quota stocks will be treated in the same way as in
previous years.

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