Quota management: Annual quotas

The primary aim of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is to ensure rational and sustainable exploitation of fish stocks through conservation and management policies designed to protect resources and reflect the needs of the fishing industry. Fleet capacity policies are aimed at improving the balance between catching capacity and available resources by addressing fishing effort. Conservation policies are aimed at regulating the quantities of fish caught, through a system of Total Allowable Catches (TACs) based on scientific advice.

These TACs are allocated as quotas to Member States in accordance with fixed keys based on historic fishing rights. The UK quota management system seeks to ensure that these quotas are shared fairly amongst the UK fishing industry and also so that fishing activity in the UK is managed such that these quotas are not exceeded.

UK fishing quotas are allocated annually by Fisheries Ministers, who make the allocation on the basis of the Fixed Quota Allocation (FQA) units associated with individual fishing vessel licences. [Further information on FQA’s]. Once allocated, quota is a permission to catch quota stocks that is allocated at the level of the Producer Organisation or non-sector. In total FQA units represent catches made in the defined reference period and are used solely for allocation purposes.

Fishermen do not, therefore, have property rights over FQA units or quota. Nonetheless they are afforded a substantial degree of protection and certainty through the development and operation of the UK's quota management rules and the Ministers' assurance that significant changes will not be made to existing arrangements without full and proper consultation.

See also

Page last modified: 14 December 2007
Page published: 14 December 2007