Govt wins ‘fair’ UK fisheries deal

The government has secured an increase in EU fish quotas after fishermen complained they were forced to throw more than half of healthy catches back into the sea.

As part of an attempt to safeguard cod and other fish stocks, the amount of fish UK trawlers can catch is fixed by the European Union (EU).

However, last month fishermen complained strict quotas for each species of fish were unrealistic and forcing them to throw back as much as 60 per cent of catches.

Brussels has now agreed increased quotas for UK fishermen, including an 11 per cent rise to the North Sea cod quota.

Fisheries minister Jonathan Shaw welcomed the EU’s support for UK proposals as a “fair deal” for the UK.

Mr Shaw said: “The UK has shown that its fishermen are committed to finding new ways of protecting vulnerable stocks. We wanted to avoid cuts to days at sea for our fishermen, but the overall deal that we achieved offsets some of those agreed.

“Today’s agreement acknowledges efforts by our fishermen to find new ways to safeguard stocks and to prevent large amounts of the fish they catch having to be thrown back dead into the sea.

“I want to pay tribute to my fellow ministers from the devolved administrations and their officials as well as Defra officials – everyone worked together for a fair deal that has benefits for fishermen throughout the UK.”

Mr Shaw pushed for increased quotas last month, declaring it was an “absolute waste” for fishermen to be throwing back healthy cod.