Whiting, hake, herring, haddock, horse mackerel, plais, sole, cod, ling, plais … were on the menu of European fisheries ministers during a quick and expeditious meeting on Wednesday to validate the first annual arrangement between United . Kingdom and the European Union after Brexit. This establishes the prospects for a fish catch of hundreds of thousands of tons of fish off the English Channel and the Northwest Atlantic for 2021.
One would have expected that the British would try to secure their territorial waters. But the tentative version of this confidential text, which Le Telegram was able to consult, indicates that Europeans will have more flexibility than ever to continue their activities, at least until the end of the year.
“Flexible Management Guarantee”
For example, it would still be possible to transfer up to 10% of a given TAC (authorized catch rate) in the Irish Sea to the Celtic Sea. The same ratio can be carried over from one year to the next. Contrary to what London was asking for, there would be no species-by-species tonnage limit even for those not under the quota, such as lobster. This arrangement is particularly applicable around the Channel Islands.
On the delicate issue of Celtic Sea Cod whose stock has been exhausted, negotiators maintain a so-called “bycatch” TAC. A closure actually prevents the exploitation of other very important TACs in the field such as whitewashing.
Some details are yet to be clarified by a bipartisan scientific committee that will be set up shortly. It will specifically work on the exchange of quotas between European and British, which reached 36,000 tonnes in 2020, including more than 5,000 with France, and is currently done on an informal basis.
For Pierre Karlskind, chairman of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, the agreement provides “guarantees of flexible management”.
Paris, on the other hand, was unpleasantly surprised to receive a formal notice from the Brussels Commission on the subject of controls on Wednesday. It indicated that France “does not ensure automatic and systematic documentary checks aimed at verifying the movements of its ships”. A process “considered particularly serious” by the Cabinet of the Minister of the Sea which prompted Telegram to “collect declarative obligations [est] Double as compared to 2015” and “90% of requests” from the Commission were fulfilled. A response from Paris is expected by the end of August.
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