Scotland calls for extra quotas to implement discard ban
Fishermen in Scotland need the European Commission to deliver increased fish quotas to help them implement the discard ban, according to Richard Lochhead, Scottish Fisheries Secretary.
Lochhead, who will join his counterparts from around Europe at the annual quota negotiations in Brussels this week, has highlighted the range of work the government has undertaken to help fishermen understand the ban, including holding information events, distributing guidance and fact-sheets, and working with industry to understand the challenges presented by the discard ban and identifying solutions.
“No-one, least of all our fishermen, want to see perfectly edible fish thrown back into the sea dead. The successful implementation of the discard ban can end this practice and it is crucial that the European Commission delivers the extra fish quotas and quota uplifts that our fishermen need,” said Lochhead.
“We’ve already seen positive signs with the agreed increases in quota for haddock and cod, in a package that will be worth around GBP 15 million (EUR 20.8 million; USD 22.8 million) for Scottish fishermen, but we need that matched with increases in the total allowable catch and quota uplifts for the other species being negotiated in Brussels.
“The Scottish Government has been working hard with the industry to help them understand and prepare for the discard ban and I will be in Brussels to fight for the best possible deal for our fleet.”
The minister will also be seeking immediate action and commitments from the Commission to begin the repeal of the Cod Recovery Plan (CRP), given the current positive health of the North Sea cod stock.
“The deeply flawed Cod Recovery Plan has been a millstone around our fishermen’s necks for far too long and their efforts which have borne fruit in the recovery of the North Sea cod stock now need to be recognized. The cod stock is now over three times the size it was in 2006 and this year it is enjoying the highest advised catch tonnage in 15 years.
“Now is the time to demand that the Commission initiate immediate steps for the full repeal of the Cod Recovery Plan and all its dysfunctional elements,” he said.