HC Deb 27 July 1988 vol 138 cc299-300W
Mr. Mans

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is able to announce the results of the study of measures of effective fishing capacity, foreshadowed in his announcement of 30 April 1987.

Mr. Donald Thompson

The Fisheries Departments have completed their study and copies of it are being circulated to representative organisations today. We are also circulating proposals for further changes to the restrictive licensing scheme which would tighten up arrangements for the transfer of licences between vessels with a view to containing the total capacity of the fleet. This is necessary in order to curb the pressure on the fishing opportunities available to our fleet and to meet the reductions in fleet size set out in the multi-annual guidance programme agreed with the European Commission in December 1987.

The consultation paper puts forward for comment by the industry four basic options for changes to the licensing scheme:

  1. (i) the introduction of additional length bands at the top end of the vessel size range;
  2. (ii) the introduction of smaller length bands throughout the size ranges;
  3. (iii) a restriction on capacity using a new "capacity" formula which takes into account the size of vessel and its engine; and
  4. (iv) a simple restriction on any increase in gross registered tonnage and engine size.

Comments on these proposals are being invited by not later than 21 September 1988. Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library.

In order to avoid the balance between our fleet's capacity and its fishing opportunities deteriorating while the consultations are being completed, we are also as from today introducing, in addition to existing rules on licence

£ million
1982–83 1983–84 1984–85 1985–86 11986–87 1987–88 1988–89 1990–91 1991–92
outturn outturn outturn outturn outturn outturn plans plans plans
Receipts in respect of running costs included in other public expenditure programmes 1.45 2.40 2.62 2.67 7.24 7.47 8.26 7.56 7.75
Other running cost receipts 10.65 13.22 12.15 17.32 23.95 34.18 33.47 35.78 36.67
TOTAL 12.10 15.62 14.77 19.99 31.19 41.65 41.73 43.34 44.42
1 With effect 1986 total includes receipts from ODA for services of DS officers and locally engaged staff administrating full-time aid work overseas.

transfers, a temporary ban on transfers of licences except where the applicants satisfy us that the transfer will not lead to an increase in tonnage or engine power. This ban includes a ban on increasing the tonnage or engine power of a currently licensed vessel. Special consideration will be given to cases where the immediate application of this ban would cause hardship as a result of enforceable financial commitments already entered into.

Detailed arrangements for administering the extra restrictions on licence transfers have been placed in the Library of the House.