Round two fishing talks between the EU and Norway have concluded without a bilateral agreement being reached on how shared stocks will be fished.
The EU-Norway agreement has substantial implications for Scotland – including 2013 quota decisions on North Sea cod and herring, as well as the catch limit for mackerel due to the absence of agreement with Iceland and Faroes.
With it becoming clear that talks will not conclude this week, discussions were suspended last night and talks will reconvene early in the New Year. The EU delegation included senior Scottish Government representation.
Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “While a signed and sealed EU-Norway deal would mean greater certainty on fishing opportunities next year for many Scottish fishermen, what is most important is that we achieve the right outcome to supports sustainable fishing in our shared waters.
“North Sea cod is one of the key stocks this agreement covers and once again it has become apparent this week that the European Commission is pressing for an unjustifiable 20 per cent quota cut. We have made clear to the Commission – with support from some other Member States – that we cannot accept this.
“The cod stock is improving and we are committed to its recovery. However, cutting quota while the fishery is more abundant will only lead to increased discarding. Therefore I hope that by the time talks reconvene the EU has found a way around these counterproductive and farcical rules under the Cod Recovery Plan.
“Over-fishing of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroes means that the scientific advice is for a quota reduction. However, it’s reassuring Norway has backed Scotland’s position that we should not suffer an additional quota cut simply to reward Iceland and Faroes for their irresponsible practices.
“I’m hopeful that when these talks reconvene our key concerns over cod and mackerel are addressed. And with the EU December Council fast approaching, I’m fully preparing to stand up for our fishermen and fight for a fair outcome for Scotland.”