HC Deb 11 November 1998 vol 319 cc251-2W
Mr. Steen

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many licences his Department has issued for recreational fishing under Part 2 of the Merchant Fishing Act 1995; and if he will make a statement on the percentage of the British quota allowed for recreational fishing; [57948]

(2) if he will exempt recreational boats from periodic MAFF species bans; [57949]

(3) when he proposes to introduce a register for recreational fishing; and how many staff will be employed by his Department to administer these records. [57950]

Mr. Morley

[holding answer 9 November 1998]: European Union regulations on annual total allowable catches and quotas require that all landings be counted against a Member State's share of the total allowable catch for each quota stock. All vessels over 10 metres in overall length which fish for profit are required to submit landing declarations for quota stocks. The landings made by all other vessels, including fishing vessels of 10 metres and under in overall length, and for which separate quota allocations operate in the United Kingdom, are monitored by Fisheries Departments. Where allocations are exhausted steps are taken to prohibit further landings unless additional quota allocation can be made available. However, this does not prevent recreational anglers from fishing provided they return their catch to the sea. Occasionally temporary closures may operate to ensure that sufficient allocation is held back for seasonal fisheries.

Separate allocations are not made in respect of vessels exclusively engaged in recreational fishing. Nor are such vessels licensed by the Fisheries Departments under the provisions of the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967 and we have no plans to do so. The registration of vessels under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 is a matter for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.