In a previous life I was Secretary of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, so upon election Conservatives in the European Parliament appointed me Fisheries Spokesman.
I sit on the Fisheries Committee (PECH) and strive to give Fishermen a strong voice in Brussels. The biggest challenge in the coming years will be the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy and tackling over-fishing by Norway, Iceland and the Faroes.
On this page, you will find out more about some of the issues affecting Scottish fishermen, and what I am doing to provide a strong voice for Scotland on the Fisheries Committee.
FISHING IN THE EU
Decisions made in the EU have huge effect on Scottish fishermen, and it is important that Scotland has a strong voice at the table when these decisions are being made.
There are many issues facing the Scottish Fishing Industry at present, the most noteworthy being the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and, from that, the Landing Obligations.
The CFP is a set of rules for managing European fishing fleets and for conserving fish stocks. Designed to manage a common resource, it gives all European fishingfleets equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds and allows fishermen to compete fairly. The CFP was introduced to prevent overfishing and to secure sustainable fisheries and fishing industry. The CFP was first introduced in the 1970s and went through successive updates, the most recent of which took effect on 1 January 2014. It covers everything from Technical Measure (nets/gears/engines) to multi-annual plans for areas of the sea to quotas and Landing Obligations.
The quota for all European Union fishing fleets, is set at the annual December Council of Fishing Ministers which is attended by the UK Fishing Minister as it is the member state that is represented- not the implementing authority. Scotland is represented by the UK Minister- Richard Lochead does not get a seat at the table. There is, therefore, no such thing as a 'Scottish Quota', it is a British Quota, of which the Scottish fleet gets a share of the overall UK one based on something called the Fixed Quota Allocation. However, the quota's are largely based on the scientific advice that is published on all fisheries by an organisation called ICES which is published the preceding summer. Therefore it is almost possible to be able to predict the quotas (roughly) from the date the scientific advice is published.
The Landing Obligations are a set of rules that were introduced from January 2015 for Pelagic fish and introduced for most Demersal fish in January 2016. It will require fishermen to land all their catch, (although, crucially not cod, which is to be included the following year) even if it is over their allocated quota. This will create a massive new burden for the industry.
I have repeatedly called for the Scottish Government to live up to its obligations and support fishermen in the storing, icing and transport of this unwanted catch. Scottish fishermen will have a hard time trying to adjust to such a drastic change in their fishing practices and it is still unclear they will overcome these obstacles. I have, for around a year, been trying to meet with Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead to discuss these issues and have regularly highlighted the SNP Government’s failure to support the industry on this issue. The EU has set the minimum that the Scottish Government can do, but not the ceiling.
For full information on the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee (PECH), including details of past and future meetings, please click here. The Fisheries committee also publishes a regular magazine here.
To see fisheries in the EU within the context of the wider use of our seas, please see the European Commission's interactive European Atlas of the Seas.
In March I had a robust exchange of views in the European Parliament with the person in charge of EU fisheries, Commissioner Vella, on the prospect of an opt out of the Common Fisheries Policy for an independent Scotland.READ MORE
Last week the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee discussed The Multi-annual Plan for Demersal Stocks in the North Sea. Each of the interventions in the debate (and sadly I was the only Scot who spoke) was ‘worthy’. Chief negotiator, Ulrike Rodust, a Socialist from Germany, is no friend of the fishermen’s having previously called for new red tape into the fishing industry, in the form of extra technical measures for the Common Fisheries Policy.READ MORE
Last week the EU set the fish quotas for the coming year and I secured passage of a climate change law through the European Parliament’s Environment Committee which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2). Two, seemingly unconnected, events. Or were they?READ MORE
Ian Duncan, has welcomed the results of the annual December Fish quota talks in BrusselsREAD MORE
Conservative Fisheries spokesman Ian Duncan MEP has criticised the EU for buckling to Norwegian demands over access to North Sea fisheries.READ MORE
On the 3rd of August 2016 the European Commission published its plan for fisheries in the North Sea. There is only one flaw. The EU share of North Sea waters are about to shrink by more than half.READ MORE
Most of the key quotas of interest to Scotland are set in the bilateral negotiations between the EU and Norway. The 2016 talks are underway.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
My piece for ThinkScotland on why the future of UK fisheries management must avoid the failings of the CFPREAD MORE
I spent my summer holidays in an old fishermen’s cottage overlooking Polperro harbour down in Cornwall.READ MORE
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure to speak to you today.READ MORE
Ian Duncan, Conservative MEP for Scotland, has welcomed a new report from the NAFC Marine Centre UHI, which has found that EU vessels catch more than half of the fish landed in the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone.READ MORE
Any attempt by the EU to assert authority over UK waters must be resisted, resisted strongly, and resisted today.READ MORE
Conservative MEP Ian Duncan has sought to reassure Dr Whiteford that her concern over the EU fishing fund is without foundation.READ MORE
Ian Duncan has sought clarity from Scottish Fishing Minister Fergus Ewing MSP after confusion over the administration of the European Maritime and Fishing Fund (EMFF).READ MORE
Brexit will have significant implications for European fisheries.READ MORE
The European Commission has been urged to postpone a fisheries management plan for the North Sea, given the UK will no longer be bound by EU rules once the Brexit process has concluded.READ MORE
Ian Duncan MEP has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament today, which will exclude lifeboat launchers and protect tractors from unworkable EU regulation.READ MORE
The referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU will take place on the 23 June. I believe it will be a once in a generation, perhaps even once in a lifetime, event. The question to be posed in the referendum is straightforward, the answer, a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ However, the relationship between the UK and the EU is anything but simple.READ MORE
The purpose of this paper is to consider whether UK membership of the EU provides an advantage to the UK’s fishing sector.READ MORE
Some photos of the launch of Mike Park's New Direction Report - The Fishing Industries and Relations with Legislators. A comparison between Scotland and Croatia.READ MORE
Ian's Speech to the Shellfish Association of Great Britain Conference - 24 May 2016READ MORE
Peter has already shown himself a ready champion of farmers. In addressing the SNP’s handling of the cod issue he is ready to fight for fishermen. Earlier in the year Peter was campaigning for the dualling of the A90. The Northeast needs a rural champion in Holyrood, and Peter is just the man for the job.READ MORE
Jamie Greene was clear: he will champion the interest of the fishermen of the Clyde. As he said, ‘Someone has to, since it is clear that the SNP has moved on to ‘greener’ pastures.’READ MORE
Ian Duncan MEP has welcomed the news that the European Commission will drop their controversial plans for an EU-Driftnet ban.READ MORE
Ian Duncan, MEP for Scotland, will help lead efforts in in the European Parliament to repeal the Cod Recovery Plan. Dr Duncan has been appointed as European Conservative and Reformist 'Shadow Rapporteur', and will push the European Commission to recognise the healthy state of the Cod stocks.READ MORE
Back in November I wrote an article on the seemingly never ending repetitious discussions around attempts to regulate deep sea fisheries. I titled the piece, ‘Groundhog Day,’ in honour of the movie in which Bill Murray re-lives the same day over and over and over again. Well, I have just dragged myself from the latest meeting of the European Parliament deep sea negotiators, and it's like déjà vu all over again.READ MORE
Dr Ian Duncan is asking fishermen and farmers to tell him how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) can be reformed as part of the Prime Minister´s renegotiation deal.READ MORE
At the end of last year a seafood scandal broke in Brussels. An organisation by the name of Oceana went deep undercover. The organisations operatives gathered DNA samples from 280 fish dishes being offered by Brussels leading restaurants (as well as the canteens of the three EU institutions). The purpose of the investigation was simple: was the fish on the menu actually the fish that arrived on the plate?READ MORE
Exactly what qualifications are needed to take a pleasure craft to sea? And what safety equipment must such a vessel possess to be considered officially seaworthy? I did some digging. The answer was surprising.READ MORE
My Letter to Commissioner Vella on Tuna in British WatersREAD MORE
There are only six Scottish MEP’s, and we can’t always be in the room, but we do have to do our damnedest to ensure that when colleagues represent us at meetings, they do not vote against Scotland’s interests.READ MORE