Industry leaders head to Brussels for key talks

FISHERMEN’S leaders are in Brussels this week for the first round of the annual EU/Norway talks which set catch shares for key stocks shared between the Community and Norway.

And Scotland’s leading fishermen’s grouping said today that they are “keen” to see further development of the catch quota scheme.

But Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association chief executive Mike Park underlined that its development is wholly dependent on Norway agreeing to set aside an additional tonnage of cod over and above the total allowable catch (TAC) that is set.

Mr Park the chief executive of the Association (SWFPA) has already headed for Brussels for the first round which begins today and is scheduled to end in four days time.

White fish association chairman David Milne will join him later this week when his vessel docks.

Mr Park underlined that the annual EU/ Norway wrangle is always a “very fraught” affair.“It resembles three dimensional chess,” he added.

Norway are joint managers with the EU of major North Sea stocks such as cod, haddock and whiting And the talks kicking off today are the first of a two-round sequence of meetings that determine not only the opportunities in the North Sea for EU vessels but beyond in areas such North Norway and Greenland.

Mike Park added today: “We are fortunate that this year that ICES have signalled an increase in many of our major commercial stocks although the sector is still perplexed at the proposal of a 1% reduction in North Sea cod when the stock seems to be so abundant.”