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Strong results for fisheries

Published: 14 Dec 2016 09:15

£47 million boost and increase in 16 key stocks.

The Scottish fishing industry will benefit from deals set to deliver additional fishing opportunities worth around £47 million, following annual negotiations in Brussels, Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing has confirmed. 

The overall package which concluded at December Council included increased fish quotas for 16 out of 23 key Scottish stocks, such as cod, saithe and mackerel. Deals negotiated in Brussels over the past two days included strong increases of £12 million for Norway lobster and £5 million for monkfish. 

Significant wins from this year’s talks also included an extra 1,500 tonnes of Arctic cod quota coming to the UK following an increase at the EU/Norway talks.

This particular measure in the package was secured following several meetings between Mr Ewing and the UK’s Fisheries Minister in the run-up to the December talks and was a key concession wrought from the UK Government by the Scottish Fisheries Secretary.

This will be available for swaps with other countries to bring in additional quota of stocks that may be running short in the North Sea such as cod, haddock, whiting and saithe which is particularly important with more stocks coming under the discard ban in 2017.

The talks also secured extra flexibility around where vessels are able to fish. This will remove current constraints around fishing for northern shelf haddock, and provide more choice over fishing grounds, resulting in reduced costs for vessels.

Mr Ewing said: 

“The fishing industry is a vital part of our rural economy which is why it’s good news that we’ve secured crucial increases for the majority of our key species. These deals are worth around £47 million to the industry. 

“To achieve improved deals for 16 out of 23 of our key stocks is a very satisfactory outcome for the Scottish fleet and one that’s been strongly welcomed by the senior industry representatives in Brussels.

“I’m delighted that our long-standing calls to give vessels greater flexibility around where they can fish, have been answered, and from 2017 our fleet will be able to make use of this new provision.
 
“In these uncertain times I’m pleased that issues around Brexit did not compromise our negotiating position. We worked constructively to put people’s livelihoods first, and founding on the scientific advice, helped secure a good deal that can be well received by Scots fishermen.”

Background

The estimates are based on 2016 average prices. The projected figure of opportunities for Scotland was revised to £47m following adjustments to quotas after the conclusion of December Council through the Hague Preference, a mechanism that gives UK a greater share of North Sea haddock and whiting.

December Council is the culmination of all the end year negotiations where everything is finalised.  The actual stocks under negotiation at this Council are known as internal stocks such as monk, west coast saithe, west coast whiting, megrim, skates and rays, west coast haddock, plaice, sole and Norway lobster commonly known as nephrops (prawns).

At the Council each member state, and then Scotland as part of the UK, is allocated quotas for each stock – this caps the amount the industry is able to fish for each stock. The quotas look to balance scientific advice and the need for sustainable fishing, with economic interests.

Information on EU/Faroe negotiations can be found at: http://news.gov.scot/news/eufaroe-fish-deal-1

Information on EU/Norway negotiations can be found at: http://news.gov.scot/news/fisheries-talks-conclude