Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, today pressed the Government in the House of Commons on its preparations for the December Fisheries Council, due to be held on 16-17 December. The Fisheries Council will take place four days after the planned general election and is likely to include discussions on the catch levels of North Sea Cod.
Speaking in the House, Mr. Carmichael asked:
“The December Fisheries Council will be on the Monday and Tuesday following the election. Every indication is that it is going to be a challenging negotiation, so can he tell the House what he is doing now to make sure that the voice of the fishing industries is properly heard and represented at that Council?”
Responding for the Government, George Eustice MP said:
“I had meetings with officials yesterday to discuss the issue of cod and EU-Norway negotiations. Those negotiations will take place during November and I will continue to monitor events. The December Fisheries Council will formally adopt these proposals after the General Election.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael said:
“The Government must not take its eye off the ball regarding the coming Fisheries Council. This crucial round of talks – which will directly impact fishermen in the Northern Isles – will not simply stop because there is an election on.
“The recent changes to the status of North Sea cod are particularly important to our whitefish fleet. The scientific advice may make these negotiations difficult. We need determined and focused negotiators and political support to ensure that we get the best possible settlement for our fishermen.”