Select Committee on European Communities Second Report



18.  CONVENTION ON FUTURE MULTILATERAL CO-OPERATION IN THE NORTH-EAST ATLANTIC FISHERIES (10075/98) AND CLOSER DIALOGUE WITH THE FISHING INDUSTRY AND GROUPS AFFECTED BY THE COMMON FISHERIES POLICY (10439/99)

Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee, to Elliot Morley MP, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

  The Sub-Committee considered both of these proposals at its meeting on 13 October and agreed to clear them. The Sub-Committee was generally supportive of the Government's stance in each case.

  The Sub-Committee has asked me to write to you to request that they be kept informed of the outcome of negotiations on both proposals. In addition, the Sub-Committee would be interested to be told how much extra cost would be incurred by the United Kingdom under the proposals outlined in 10074/99, when compared with proposals under which the Commission were to provide the control vessels, as happens in the North-West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation.

19 October 1999

Letter from Elliot Morley MP, Minister for Fisheries and the Countryside, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman of the Committee

  Thank you for your letter of 19 October.

  It is very helpful to know that your Committee supports the Government's stance on each of the above proposals. As requested, we will keep you informed of developments on both proposals.

  You asked about the extra cost which would be incurred by the UK were we to have to provide control vessels in the NEAFC area, as required under 10074/99, compared with the Commission providing them as under the NAFO model.

  Our existing offshore inspection and surveillance resources comprise Royal Navy fishery protection vessels, and maritime surveillance aircraft operated on behalf of the Ministry under contract with the private sector. These resources are deployed within British Fishery Limits adjacent to England and Wales, although occasional patrols may also be undertaken in international waters to monitor the activities of UK vessels. The Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency deploys similar resources in the Scottish zone.

  The annual operational cost to the Ministry of mounting patrols in British Fishery Limits under current arrangements is some £5.8 million (approximately £6,000 per patrol day) for fishery protection vessels and £2.4 million (approximately £1,500 per flying hour) for surveillance aircraft. Similar operating costs fall to the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency for patrolling the Scottish zone.

  The cost to the UK of contributing to an enforcement presence in NEAFC waters would depend on the number of patrol days and flying hours required, and the availability of suitable fishery protection vessels and surveillance aircraft. While an initial ad hoc inspection presence may be possible using existing resources, this would be at the expense of patrols in British Fishery Limits. It also needs to be borne in mind that the scope and extent of enforcement activities in NEAFC waters is likely to increase over time as NEAFC progressively augments the number of stocks under management in its regulatory area. At this point in time, it is difficult to quantify what the additional resources required by the UK and other Member States would be in order to provide a sustained inspection presence in NEAFC waters but they are likely to be substantial.

  For its part, the Commission has indicated that, were it to provide the inspection services in NEAFC waters, as it does in NAFO, this would involve additional fisheries enforcement expenditure of around 3.5 million euros (approximately £2,237,500) a year. It is not clear to us at this stage whether this extra spending could be financed from within existing budgetary resources available to the Commission or whether additional provision would be needed.

  I hope this information is helpful.

18 November 1999


 
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