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  1. ITV Report

New fish quotas are a mixed blessing for the West Country

Fishermen in Brixham say they were expecting more from the deal on fishing quotas Credit: ITV News

The Government says it has fought hard with the European Commission to get a deal for the UK fishing industry, achieving quota increases and ensuring sustainable fish stock for 2016.

The concessions include a doubling of the quota for plaice in the Channel while making sure fish stocks are conserved to safeguard the livelihoods of fishing fleets and coastal communities.

  • English Channel: +80% Plaice
  • North Sea: +15% Cod, +47% Haddock
  • Celtic Sea: +20% Hake, +5% Megrim
  • Celtic Sea: Fishing of Pollock, Skate, Rays, Monkfish to continue at 2015 levels
  • Western Channel: +15% Sole

By fighting for the fishing industry, and making a clear case for the need for more sustainable fishing, we have got a good deal and shown we can get what we need in Europe. That’s just what we’re also doing in this European renegotiation – fighting hard for the UK.

– UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice MP

In some cases there will still be some reductions in quota to ensure fishing opportunities support the recovery and long-term sustainability of stocks and, in line with this approach, fishing restrictions were also agreed to aid the recovery of sea bass stocks which have suffered from a long-term decline.

This means that next year there will be a six month closure of commercial bass fisheries (January to June).

The UK also negotiated that the number of permitted days at sea will be kept at 2015 levels rather than reduced.

There are concerns the increase in fish quotas could drive down prices Credit: ITV News

Despite the satisfaction shown by the Minister, fishermen in Brixham say they haven't been given what they promised. They were expecting at least a 50% rise in the Dover sole quota but have had just a 15% rise.

They say it is not bringing them up to the levels they were at a few years ago. Skipper Antony Shine from the Sylvia T warned that some fishermen could go out of business.

There are also concerns that the large rise in the plaice quota could drive down prices.