Duncan - EU Fish Talks a Result for Scottish Fishermen
Ian Duncan, the Conservative MEP for Scotland, has welcomed the deal reached at the annual Fishing Talks in Brussels. Under the agreement, a freeze on proposed cuts to days fishermen can go to sea and gains in key quotas were two of the main wins for Scotland.
Welcome increases in quota were seen for West Coast haddock (up 14%), Rockall haddock (up 113%) and monkfish (up 20%). Across a broad range of stocks including skates, rays and ling – where automatic 20% cuts were proposed – a rollover was secured. For other important stocks such as West of Scotland Prawns, saithe and whiting, manageable cuts were introduced.
The quotas were agreed at the annual European Council meeting of Europe’s Fisheries Ministers.
Dr Duncan commented:
‘Although the newly agreed quotas contain the usual mix of increases and decreases, in the main these fluctuations are manageable. This is undoubtedly better news for Scotland’s fishermen and should bring an element of stability to our fleet as we move in to 2015.
‘Something well worth noting is that the fish stocks of most interest to Scottish fishermen are, with a few exceptions, either in robust health or encouragingly heading in that direction. This lays the foundations for further successful fisheries negotiations in the New Year.
‘The annual Fisheries Council traditionally presents an important opportunity not only to agree catch levels that reflect the abundance of fish stocks but also to take in to account the important requirement to reduce discards. Never has this second component been so important, particularly with the advent of the discard ban for pelagic fisheries now just two weeks away.
‘Along with my colleagues on the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, I remain steadfast in my belief that having rules in place to help those fishermen affected by the pelagic discard ban from 1st January 2015 should be a priority. Time is on our side for giving guidance to the demersal industry ahead of its own discard ban beginning on 1st January 2016. Getting the rules right and ready for the pelagic fisheries is my New Year’s resolution.'
Contact Andrew Johnston
Head of Office, Ian Duncan MEP