Under new post-Brexit regulations, fishing boats must have 70 percent British crew members.
A further increase in the percentage of fish required to be caught at UK ports will also occur.
The move should help to create jobs and provide an economic boost to the UK’s coastal communities.
The new regulations, which apply to large vessels which catch from the English chunk of the UK fishing quota only, significantly tighten up the ‘economic link’ policy.
Under new post-Brexit regulations, fishing boats must have 70 percent British crews starting April.
This was created in 1999 after the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy brought an influx of foreign-owned boats registering in the UK to take advantage of fishing rights.
Boats must prove that they have a benefit or connection to the UK’s economy under the current policy.
Most do so by landing at least 50 per cent of their catch in the UK – but the new rule extends this to 70 per cent for boats using the English quota of fish numbers they are allowed to catch.
The rule for having 70 per cent of crew on a fishing vessel normally living in the UK is another way to satisfy the ‘economic link’ policy. This has increased from the 50 percent required previously.
The announcement of the new rules, which will take effect from April 1, came as the Government revealed a £75million funding boost to modernise ports and processing facilities, and create jobs.
Charles Clover, an environmentalist and campaigner from the Blue Marine Foundation, said: ‘At the moment boats are fishing quite unsustainably, often without benefit to the UK economy, which these new rules should help to address.
‘However, this feels like rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic given that just a few days ago the Government decided to continue rampant overfishing of already collapsed populations of cod.’
Jeremy Percy, from the Under Ten Fishermen’s Association, representing smaller fishing vessels, said: ‘On the face of it, the additional requirements are beneficial, although many larger English vessels already struggle to attract UK-based crews and will not take kindly to having to donate quota or land catches in the UK when they can get better prices abroad.
The move should help to create jobs and provide an economic boost to the UK’s coastal communities
‘As the larger vessels which do not manage to land the 70 per cent will have to give parts of their quota to smaller boats, our vessels will welcome this.’
These new requirements apply to vessels larger than 32ft and that capture more than 2 tonnes per year in English quota.
These vessels need to meet at least one of these criteria.
The rules also allow vessels to fish here if they donate part of their quota to smaller in-shore boats, or if they prove at least half their boat’s normal operating expenditure is in UK coastal areas.
The new rules will remove this option to spend, which had been rarely used. Economic benefits will accrue from the increased proportion of UK-landed fish, especially if UK fish processing is used.
The current policy requires that boats prove their benefit to the UK economy or be linked to it by satisfying one of these four criteria
It could add up to £60million a year of additional landings, according to a consultation document – but this is likely to be an overestimate.
If large fishing vessels do not land 70 per cent of fish in the UK, they can choose to make up the difference by giving away more of their quota to smaller boats, which could be worth up to £7.3million a year according to the document.
A £65million infrastructure scheme will help to modernise ports and harbours, and increase capacity and efficiency at processing facilities.
Up to £10million will be used to encourage people into fishing industries and provide extra staff training.