Alan Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
This agreement was reached following two days of intensive negotiations within the UK delegation, with other Member States and with the Commission. I was pleased to take an active part in these negotiations and this resulted in fishing opportunities that enable the industry in Wales to continue to grow sustainably.
The approach of the Welsh Government was to build upon the principles which underpinned the approach to the Common Fisheries Policy reform which was agreed earlier this year. These were: to follow all available scientific advice; to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2015, wherever possible, and by 2020 at the latest; and to reduce discards.
The agreement of fishing quotas is an important step to achieving my ambitions as set out in the Marine and Fisheries Strategic Action Plan, for sustainable and viable fisheries. I believe the fishing agreement for 2014 sets us on track to deliver this ambition.
I am pleased that, in line with the science, we achieved an increase for Plaice fishing in the Bristol Channel and Celtic Sea, and maintained fishing quotas at 2013 levels for some other stocks including Haddock in the Irish Sea. Where we faced significant cuts proposed by the Commission I am satisfied that we successfully countered this with robust science. However, the science also shows that where there is a negative trend, some stocks require a reduction in order to stay on target to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield.
Overall, I am pleased with the final deal that we were able to secure which reflects a significant progress towards achieving our aims under a reformed CFP whilst respecting the needs of our fleet and to ensure a fishing industry that can help sustain our coastal communities.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.