The annual negotiations to determine EU fisheries quotas has now concluded with Brexit looming large over the talks.
Fergus Ewing, Rural Economy Secretary in the Scottish Government described the negotiations as challenging.
“We have secured a strong result for Scotland’s fishermen, with deals worth more than £440 million to the industry and crucial increases for many of our key species.”
There will be increases of 38% for North Sea whiting, 20% for monkfish, 22% for North Sea Norway lobster and 26% for west of Scotland haddock.
Scottish fishermen’s leaders acknowledged the hard work put in by the joint negotiating team which included as well as Fergus Ewing on behalf of the Scottish Government, George Eustice Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the UK Government.
Looking ahead they warned other EU countries against trying to block the UK taking back control of its fishing industry in the Brexit negotiations.
Bertie Armstrong, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Chief Executive said:
“There are fewer than 500 days until the UK leaves the European Union.
“International law is abundantly clear that upon exit, control over the UK exclusive economic zone (EEZ) will revert to the UK governments.
“That will allow the UK to decide for our own waters who gets to catch what, where and when. But it doesn’t mean we won’t be willing to negotiate access. The difference is that will be on our terms.”
Scotland, as part of the UK is allocated a quota. The package negotiated is worth £440million.
Fergus Ewing said:
“I am frustrated that the European Commission was unwilling to accept any of our proposals on Cod and Norway lobster that would have assisted vessels operating on the west coast of Scotland.
“Brexit has loomed large over this year’s negotiations. Now that these deals have been confirmed we will continue to seek real assurances from the UK Government that they will not trade access to Scottish waters away to secure other interests in the Brexit negotiations. We cannot and will not accept Scottish fishing interests being put at risk.”