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Scottish Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing. (Photo: Stock File)

Scotland achieves TAC increases for the North Sea

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Monday, December 04, 2017, 22:20 (GMT + 9)

Scotland has obtained a number of its negotiation objectives in the fisheries talks between the European Union (EU) and Norway, held in in Bergen.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing has welcomed quota increases for five of the six North Sea stocks that are jointly managed with Norway, including 38 per cent for whiting, 25 per cent for herring, 24 per cent for haddock and 10 per cent for cod.

In addition, 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.

“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,” pointed out Ewing.

The Fisheries Secretary stressed that one of our objectives for the talks was to secure, in return for the quota that they put into the deal, a strong package of North Sea quota coming back to Scotland in order to provide economic opportunities, expressing satisfaction about 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 per cent 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,” Ewing said.

Furthermore, he claimed that as such there can now be absolutely no rationale for the UK to top slice Scottish whiting quota for the sole benefit of English vessels.

Likewise, Secretary Ewing expressed disappointment that the EU’s negotiators have continued to trade away saithe quota in both the North Sea and west of Scotland, which he viewed as a significant choke risk stock for Scotland in the North Sea.

“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,” he stated.

He claimed that 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, adding that within the EU bloc the UK is the largest shareholder of blue whiting, of which Scotland holds over 92 per cent and yet receives not a single tonne of the Arctic Cod coming back in return.

 
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