Scotland loses saithe in EU/Norway deal
According to Scottish fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing, Scotland has secured a number of its negotiation objectives as fisheries talks between the EU and Norway concluded in Bergen.
He welcomed quota increases for five of the six North Sea stocks that are jointly managed with Norway including 38% for whiting, 25% for herring, 24% for haddock and 10% for cod, and that 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.
â€˜I am pleased that a number of our key issues have been included in todayâ€™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,â€™ he said.
â€˜One of our objectives for the talks was to secure, in return for the quota that we put into the deal, a strong package of North Sea quota coming back to Scotland in order to provide economic opportunities so I welcome the inward transfers from Norway of North Sea haddock, Norway Others and Norwegian monkfish quota. For North Sea whiting the combined effect of a 38% increase on the TAC combined with an additional inward transfer from Norway of 800 tonnes will give a significant increase in quota for this stock.â€™
He commented that there can now be absolutely no rationale for the UK to top slice Scottish whiting quota for the sole benefit of English vessels.
â€˜I expect this to cease immediately,â€™ he said, and voiced his disappointment that saithe quota has been traded away.
â€˜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,â€™ Fergus Ewing said.
â€˜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 dod coming back in return.â€™
Source: Scottish Government
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