HC Deb 27 April 1994 vol 242 cc229-30W
Mr. Gill

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether a new fisheries derogation will be required before January 2003 to avoid equal access by all EU countries to British waters.

Mr. Jack

The provision for member states to retain sovereignty or jurisdiction out to 12 miles from baselines is in article 6 of regulation 3760/92. The provision expires on 31 December 2002 unless new arrangements are put in place.

Article 14 of the same regulation provides for the Commission to report on its implementation by 31 December 2001, and for the Council to take a decision by 31 December 2002 on any necessary adjustments, in particular with reference to the provisions which could follow the arrangements referred to in article 6.

The importance of the exclusive zone to all member states was again recognsied in the recently concluded Norwegian accession negotiations when it was agreed that the special interests of coastal communities dependent on fishing in the member states would be paid special attention when reviewing the present regime in 2002.

Mr. Morley

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what definition of ecological risk will be used by the European Commission when deciding whether to allow a further derogation on the 2.5 km drift net limit for the French fishing fleet.

Mr. Jack

Under EC Council Regulation 3094/86, as amended, the derogation for certain French vessels 1:o use drift nets of up to 5 km in length expired at the end of 1993. Any further derogation can only be proposed by the Commission, and adopted by the Council by qualified majority,in the light of scientific evidence showing the absence of any ecological risk linked thereto". The United Kingdom will be pressing the Commission to state how this absence of risk can be demonstrated.

Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals she has put to the European Fisheries Commissioner on days at sea limitations.

Mr. Jack


Mr. William Ross

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what specific steps he intends to take to protect salmon and seatrout in the Irish sea, the Irish box, and other waters adjacent to the United Kingdom when Portuguese and Spanish vessels are allowed to fish in these areas.

Mr. Jack

[holding answer 26 April 1994]: There is no need for any additional measures to protect salmon and sea trout stocks as a result of changed access arrangements for Portuguese and Spanish fishing vessels. Article 6 of EC Council Regulation 3094/86 already effectively prohibits fishing for salmon and sea trout in waters beyond 12 miles from member states' baselines, and Spanish and Portuguese fishing vessels have no access rights within 12 miles of United Kingdom baselines.