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The briefing has been prepared for a breakout session at the fourth meeting of the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly (PPA) (and second UK-hosted meeting) in the UK Parliament on 4 to 5 December 2023. The PPA was established under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement and includes members of the UK Parliament (MPs and Peers) and Members of the European Parliament. The PPA is a forum for the UK Parliament and the European Parliament to exchange views on their partnership.

Under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement 25% of the overall existing EU quota in UK waters will be transferred to the UK over a five-and-a-half-year transition period to 30 June 2026, with percentage changes agreed for the total allowable catch (TAC) for each fish stock in each fishing area. Mutual access to each other’s waters is now through a licencing system for individual fishing vessels. After 2026, negotiations on access and share of stocks will take place on an annual basis, although multiannual agreements are possible.

A part of the agreement, negotiations setting the total annual TACs for each stock in each area have continued between the UK Government and the European Commission, with negotiations for 2024 ongoing. Both now negotiate with other third party countries, such as Norway, as part of the Northern Fisheries Agreements.  Under the TCA, a Specialist Fisheries Committee aims to meet three times a year. Committee discussions focus on the implementation and functioning of the fisheries heading in the TCA.

Details of how the changes have impacted the fishing sector in the UK are set out in Economic outcomes of annual negotiations for UK fishing opportunities in 2023, published by the UK Government. A European Parliamentary Research Service Think Tank publication Brexit and the reduction in EU fishing quota shares, 2021 to 2023 sets out the impact of loss of fishing quota on the EU fishing sector.

Annual reviews of the implementation of the TCA are published by both UK Government and the European Commission. In addition the European Parliament published a report to Parliament and motion for resolution on the on the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement in November 2023.  The European Parliament highlighted concern to date and set out areas of discussion in advance of the review of the TCA due to take place in by 2026. It also highlighted that agreement must be reached on fisheries before the transition period ends in June 2026.

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