CONSERVATIVE MEP FOR SCOTLAND

Conservative MEP: European Commission Is Limiting Fish Quota Increases Without Evidence

Ian Duncan, Conservative MEP for Scotland, has warned that the European Commission is limiting increases in the amount of fish that can be caught without the scientific evidence to support such a limit.

27.10.2016.

Ian Duncan, Conservative MEP for Scotland, has warned that the European Commission is limiting increases in the amount of fish that can be caught without the scientific evidence to support such a limit. Figures released today show that the Commission are maintaining a 20 percent ceiling of year on year increases for some species, which does not bode well ahead of the upcoming negotiations affecting the North Sea. Ian has raised concerns that this ruling could create more choke species, where a lack of available quota for one particular fish may prevent fishermen from risking going to sea at all for fear of breaching the discard ban, in case they accidentally catch a species they would then have to throw back.

In addition, the Commission propose to allow zero Cod to be caught off the Northwest coast of Scotland. Without any available Cod quota, fishermen cannot take to sea in this area at all, as it is impossible to avoid catching Cod. Ian has stressed the need for the Commission to raise the by-catch limit to a workable level such as 5 percent rather than the 1.5 percent limit currently set, allowing for fishermen to continue fishing in this area for those stocks that are at a healthy and sustainable level.

The figures for Total Allocated Catch (TAC) released today are indicative of how the EU will negotiate with Norway next month, and also in December at the annual EU negotiations.

Ian said,

‘While we remain a member of the EU, the quota negotiations remain crucially important to Scottish fishermen. Some of the proposed increases, such as Haddock in the Irish and Celtic Sea, are to be welcomed, as they recognise the health of those stocks. However zero Cod off the Northwest of Scotland makes no sense; neither does artificially limiting quota increases to 20 percent. As we await the figures for the main fish stocks in the North Sea, we must be mindful that as the landing obligation is phased in, measures need to be put in place to make it a workable policy for fishermen.’