UK fishermen hit jackpot: Record £970m fishing opportunities for 2024
In a groundbreaking move for the UK fishing industry, the UK Government has announced an extraordinary increase in fishing opportunities for 2024, totaling a staggering £970 million. This sensational development, marking a significant uptick from the £900 million value in 2023, ensures that the UK fishing fleet will have access to a whopping 750,000 tonnes of fishing opportunities next year. This impressive figure is 80,000 tonnes more than in 2023, showcasing the UK’s robust growth in the fishing sector post-Brexit.
The UK Government’s announcement revealed that, as a result of negotiations with the EU and Norway, the UK fishing industry would have access to 420,000 tonnes of fishing opportunities, valued up to £700 million. This includes a bilateral deal with the EU, granting UK fishermen access to opportunities of 130,000 tonnes for 2024, estimated to be worth up to £340 million. Additionally, a trilateral agreement with the EU and Norway secures 290,000 tonnes of North Sea stocks, roughly valued around £360 million.
These deals come atop 330,000 tonnes worth around £270 million from earlier catch limits agreements with coastal States in the northeast Atlantic. Furthermore, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement has resulted in the UK gaining up to 120,000 tonnes more quota from the 2024 negotiations than it would have as an EU Member State. In its fourth year operating as an independent coastal state, the UK has successfully negotiated catch levels for over 80 key total allowable catches (TACs), covering essential commercial stocks such as northern shelf cod, North Sea saithe, and Nephrop stocks in the Celtic/Irish Sea.
Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer highlighted the significance of these deals, praising them for not only providing UK fishermen with access to crucial fish stocks worth £970 million but also for exemplifying the UK’s ability to negotiate independently in the best interest of its fishing fleets. He emphasized that these agreements are founded on the latest scientific advice, aiming to foster a sustainable, profitable fishing sector while protecting the marine environment and vital fishing grounds.
Sustainability has been a cornerstone of the UK’s approach to these negotiations. Decisions have been based on the best available scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to protect key stocks and ensure the long-term viability of the UK fishing industry. Despite challenging advice for some stocks, the UK has managed to set the same number of jointly managed stocks in line with or lower than the levels advised by ICES scientists compared to the previous year.