Quotas a hot commodity

Their concern is expressed in a select committee report that criticizes government over the controversial European Union quota allocation system. The committee is troubled that traders who have no fishing industry connection have infiltrated the market for buying and selling fishing quotas.

The committee was further alarmed to learn that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs isn’t monitoring who holds fishing quotas in England.

“This means that we don’t know how much fishing quota may be held by ‘slipper skippers’ or organizations who have little or no connection to the fishing industry and who merely trade it as a commodity,” committee chairwoman Anne McIntosh told The (Plymouth) Herald.

Added Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St. Ives, “The risk of fishing quotas being held by stockbrokers or Tesco or Birdseye is that fishermen are effectively dependent on conglomerates.”

The committee recommends that only working fishermen should hold allocations and that ministers develop a register to monitor who holds quotas.

Quite the sticky wicket for our British fishing brethren, isn’t it? Thank goodness that even as NOAA continues its push to bring catch share management to U.S. fisheries, American fishermen don’t have to worry about outsiders buying up quota strictly for investment purposes! Right?

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