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Fisheries Agreement to be Reached Today

fishing-mackerelFisheries talks between the EU and Norway have concluded for 2020 with a proposed reduction in North Sea Cod quota by 50%.

It is important to remember that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s  UK Government  will be bound by the Fisheries Deal.

Norway is not a member of the EU but every year negotiates a deal with the EU over fishing quota. The Faroe Islands also reach agreements with the EU.

These agreements are extremely important to a large section of the EU fleet, especially the agreement with Norway, which covers quotas worth over €2bn. European Commission

Proposals:

72 stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea: for 32 stocks the fishing quota is either increased or remains the same; for 40 stocks the quota is reduced.

  • 50% cut in the North Sea cod quota
  • 15% cut in saithe quota
  • 13% cut in whiting quota
  • 23% increase in haddock quota
  • 17% increase in plaice quota
  • herring no change in quota

The Scottish Government’s Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing is disappointed by the deal.

Fergus EwingHe said:

“We recognise  the need to manage fish stocks sustainably, necessitating a substantial reduction, but it is regrettable that once again the main burden has fallen on Scotland.

“We have significant concerns about a methodology that recognises poor cod stocks in the Southern North Sea, but seems to disregard much healthier numbers in Northern waters. We will press for action to address this.

“The Scottish Government will do everything we can to support the industry. “

The proposals came before the  Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels yesterday and again today but it is expected that they will be agreed to. The limits will come into force on 1st of January 2020.

Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said:

“Today’s proposal consolidates our efforts for sustainable fishing in Atlantic and North Sea waters. Over the past years, we have had a steady rise in the number of healthy stocks, and – as a consequence – also a steady rise in the profits of our fishing sector.

“This is the result of responsible management and continuous implementation efforts, primarily by our fishermen, who are the first ones to implement our conservation measures and also the ones to benefit most from increased yields. With such sustained commitment, 2020 will be another year of progress for Europe’s fisheries.”

There was a Fisheries Bill introduced into the House of Commons under the last UK Government. That process will now be re-started. Under the current arrangements the UK Government as an EU member was part of the Fisheries negotiations but the implementation and management of the final deals were devolved to the Scottish Parliament. It looks highly likely that this will be changed by the new UK Tory Government stripping the Scottish Parliament of this power.

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal with the EU will still mean that the UK is bound by the Common Fisheries Policy for a transition period of up to 3 years. The UK will no longer have a say in the Fisheries negotiations as it will not be a voting member of the EU with Brexit.

Stromness fishing boats Hannah Fennell

Stromness fishing boats credit Hannah Fennell

 

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

 

 

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