EC catch proposals underline need for sensible balance of catch measures

EC catch proposals are a mixed bag according to Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong.

And they underline the need for a sensible balance of catch measures in the future.

Commenting on last week’s proposals from the European Commission for fishing opportunities for 2014 for some stocks in the Atlantic and North Sea, Mr Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “These catch proposals contain a mixed bag of news, with increases for some stocks and reductions in others.

“However, against the background of continuing recovery for the majority of fish stocks of interest to Scottish fishermen, these are initial proposals that will be subject to further discussion between member states, the industry, and the European Commission.

“It is of concern that still on the table are proposed further cuts in effort – however these are part of the widely discredited Cod Plan which is currently under discussion for being revised and turned around.

“It is essential there are no more cuts in the amount of fishing days vessels can spend at sea as the fleet is already pushed to the limit on effort and simply cannot sustain any more cuts.

“Indeed, fishing pressure has fallen steadily and significantly since 2000 on both the West coast of Scotland and North Sea.

“The total allowable catch recommendations issued by the EC today are only for some stocks and do not include shared stocks with other nations such as Norway, which will be decided upon at a later date. These will include stocks of crucial interest to Scottish fishermen such as North Sea haddock and cod.

“It is vital that the final management plan agreed for 2014 achieves the sensible balance of maintaining the positive trend of stock recovery whilst ensuring the continuation of a viable fishing fleet that puts the seafood on our tables.”