HC Deb 23 April 1998 vol 310 c673W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate(a) the proportion of fishing fleet cutbacks required for United Kingdom receipt of EU restructuring funds for the industry which could be achieved through national repurchase of quota hopping vessels and licences and (b) the estimated cost of such repurchases. [37565]

Mr. Morley

A scheme aimed at compulsorily purchasing vessels and licence entitlements owned by non-UK interests would not be permissible under Community law. Nor would it be permissible to prevent any non-UK interests who have previously left the industry from re-investing in the UK fleet. Such a scheme could not therefore be used to help achieve the UK's outstanding fishing fleet reduction targets which, along with levels of non-UK ownership, vary considerably from segment to segment of the fleet. All UK registered fishing vessels have been eligible to apply for decommissioning, regardless of ownership.