A strong deal for Wales’ fishing industry has been secured which will safeguard Welsh fish stocks and support coastal communities, according to Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, following agreement in Brussels on EU fishing opportunities for 2020.
As part of the UK Ministerial negotiating team, the Welsh Government helped secure the deal at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels which concluded in the early hours of this morning.
The Minister, who led the Welsh Government delegation said:
“In line with our commitments to ensure our natural resources are sustainably managed, using the best available scientific advice, our priority was to safeguard fish stocks whilst securing a positive outcome for those coastal communities whose economies depend so much on the sea.
“This year’s negotiations were more important than ever with the uncertainty Brexit presents. Despite this, we were able to present a strong Welsh case to the Presidency and Commission, along with colleagues from the UK Government and other Devolved Administrations.”
Our number one priority during negotiation was Seabass, and we have secured a sustainable but fair deal for both commercial and recreational fishers whilst ensuring this important stock continues its track to recovery.
We have also secured an increase or maintained quotas for Skates/Rays, Anglerfish, Plaice, Haddock and Megrim in the Celtic Sea and for Plaice, Sole and Herring in the Irish Sea, while still meeting sustainability targets.
In the Celtic Sea, the Cod stock remains challenging. The Council has set a TAC of 805t alongside a package of significant technical measures. Whilst this is challenging for some, the vast majority of the Welsh fleet will be able to continue to sustainably fish in the Celtic Sea.