§ Mr. David Porter
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to extend the fishing boat decommissioning scheme to compensate fishing crews, fish merchants and ancillary workers as well as boat owners; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Jack
I have no such plans. The decommissioning scheme is a means of enabling us to meet the targets for the reduction in fleet capacity which we have accepted as part of the common fisheries policy. It is a voluntary measure which operates through a tendering system in order to secure the best value for money. It is up to vessel owners to make suitable provision to meet any contractual obligations to their crews or third parties. By contributing to a better balance between fishing capacity and available fish stocks decommissioning will help to provide a more viable long-term future for the remaining United Kingdom fleet and related industries.