FISHERIES Minister Elliot Morley has announced a £6.4m package to help English fishermen affected by North Sea cod recovery measures.
Together with the £50m and £5m packages being offered by Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively for the same purpose, the UK fishing industry will have access to a total of over £60m of aid.
There will also be help for fisheries-dependent communities. Regional Development Agencies, which have responsibility for regeneration and economic development in England, and their counterparts in Scotland and NI will co-ordinate a response in affected areas.
Elliot Morley said: “The very poor state of North Sea cod stocks led December’s EU Fisheries Council to agree emergency measures including a restriction on days at sea and quota cuts.
“Many fishermen will be able to continue to operate under the new rules but I recognise that the constraints are real and that some coastal fisheries communities may be hit.
“Today’s aid package, including a substantial sum for voluntary decommissioning and focussed help in affected ports will promote long-term sustainability for the industry, in the face of sharply diminished catching opportunities.”
The size of the decommissioning element of the English package by comparison to Scotland’s reflects the proportionately smaller English effort on cod in the North Sea and West of Scotland areas.
Removing 15-20% of the English fleet’s fishing effort on cod, as the scheme aims to do, will mean that fleet capacity is better matched to fishing opportunities.
The new regulations limiting fishermen’s days at sea come into force on 1st February.