Fergus Ewing,Fisheries Secretary in the Scottish Government has responded to a mixed result of fisheries talks between the EU and Norway.
Fergus Ewing said:
“I am pleased that a number of our key issues have been included in today’s agreement, which gives certainty on quota levels on some key stocks in the North Sea. Overall there is very positive news on the catch levels set for important North Sea stocks that are jointly managed with Norway and we will see catching opportunities increasing for five out of six of these stocks next year.”
“I am disappointed that the EU’s negotiators have continued to trade away saithe quota in both the North Sea and west of Scotland. This is a significant choke risk stock for Scotland in the North Sea and we remain firmly opposed in principle to giving away to Norway stocks that we remain short of ourselves. This makes no economic nor fishing sense and risks putting the industry in a difficult position under the landing obligation.
“Furthermore the EU has again retained an over-reliance on the use of northern Blue Whiting as a currency with which to bring in Arctic Cod quota from Norway. Within the EU bloc the UK is largest shareholder of Blue Whiting of which Scotland holds over 92% yet receives not a single tonne of the Arctic Cod coming back in return.”
Quota increases for five of the six North Sea stocks:
- 38% for whiting,
- 25% for herring,
- 24% for haddock
- 10% for cod
Cod, haddock, saithe and herring will be fished at sustainable (MSY) levels in 2018 with whiting on a clearly defined path towards MSY by 2020.