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Cod capture. (Copyright: FIS)

'Mixed picture' for Scottish fishing industry

  (UNITED KINGDOM, 7/1/2015)

North Sea cod, haddock and plaice numbers are rising, which should lead to significantly higher quotas next year, according to new scientific assessments. There are similarly encouraging figures for a number of west coast stocks including megrim and Rockall haddock.

Annual scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) helps to inform the fisheries negotiations that take place in the autumn to decide how much quota the Scottish fishermen will receive in the coming year.

For the first time, this year’s advice is structured to allow the negotiations to decide how much additional quota should be made available for those stocks being brought into the discard ban from January 2016, in particular haddock, plaice and nephrops.

However, other stocks have decreased including North Sea nephrops and whiting, which will present more of a challenge in the coming year.

Responding to ICES advice, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, said:

“As ever, today’s advice from ICES shows a mixed picture for our fishing industry, but it is certainly encouraging that increases have been advised for some of our most valuable stocks particularly haddock, which is up by at least 30 per cent; North Sea cod, which is increased by up to 15 per cent and; plaice, which is up by at least 15 per cent compared to last year. These figures confirm we are moving in the right direction and will be welcoming news for the fishing industry. Our fishermen deserve immense credit for their part in the emerging recovery of the cod stock and I would like to thank them for their continued commitment to sustainable fishing."

“However, the overall advice for a reduction of around 17 per cent for North Sea nephrops is disappointing, although it varies between the different grounds where they are fished," Lochhead added.

“Publication of this advice marks the start of the annual cycle of negotiating our fleet’s fishing opportunities for the coming year. The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with all parts of the fishing industry over the summer to understand what these new assessments mean for them. This will help to shape the priorities we will take into the autumn’s talks to secure the best possible deal for Scottish fishermen and transition towards a whitefish discard ban,” the Cabinet Secretary concluded. 


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