Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed the announcement of a number of quota uplifts for key fishing stocks following the December Fisheries Council in Brussels but expressed dismay at the conclusion of the EU – Norway talks on pelagic species.
The Fisheries Council settled quota rises for haddock (+30%), North Sea cod (+15%), North Sea herring (+16%), megrim (+26%), monkfish (+20%) and West coast prawns (+16%). North Sea whiting and lemon sole quotas remain the same whilst there was a drop for North Sea prawns (- 23%).
Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:
“The outcome of the December Council is significant increases for some of our most important species. That is to be welcomed and as the whitefish landing ban comes in to force it will help to make life a little easier for our fleet than would otherwise have been the case. I share the dismay, however, of the pelagic sector where the negotiations between the Commission representing the EU and the Norwegian government seem to have resulted in the Norwegian fleet getting a disproportionate share of the blue whiting quota.”
“To my mind the pelagic deal just reinforces my long held view that the less the Commission has to do with fisheries management the better it will be for everyone. I remain frustrated that the current EU renegotiation could offer us the opportunity to reshape the CFP in such a way that this would end. Unfortunately the government refuses to act.
“It is worth remembering that ten years ago many people were saying that we had seen an irreversible collapse of cod stocks in the North Sea. The fact that we are able to see increases of this sort is a testament to the success of regional management. Having demonstrated that it can work we now need more of it.”