Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today welcomed news that industry representatives from major North Sea fishing countries have agreed to work together to improve the scientific surveys that inform international cod quotas. Fishing figures from Shetland, Scotland, Denmark, Norway and England met in Copenhagen to discuss what was described as a “quota mismatch” at sea, with vessels finding higher cod stocks than represented in current official assessments. Responding to the news Mr Carmichael highlighted the need for more up-to-date quotas and the broad interest of the fisheries industry to ensure its own future fish stocks.
Mr Carmichael also noted the potential for more accurate accounting of cod stocks to help stabilise supplies in the long term. Roughly 30 percent of UK whitefish originates from Russia, which controls nearly 45 percent of the global supply.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Closer working between scientists and fishermen on all sides of the North Sea to monitor stocks can only be a good thing. We all know that fisheries quotas are perpetually out of date – whether too low or indeed too high. Now is the time to bring scientific analysis and the reality at sea more closely in line with one another.
“I have said before that it is in the interests of fishermen themselves to ensure that they have sustainable stocks for the years and decades to come – that is still more true when there is international agreement to ensure that no one country can overstep the mark at the expense of others. Fairness and accountability to one another and to the sustainability of the sea must be the goal.”
“Bringing cod quotas more closely in line with up-to-date science may be still more timely in light of economic sanctions on Russia, which controls close to half the global supply of whitefish. We cannot easily mitigate the disruption caused to supply chains linked to Russia in recent weeks but a more accurate accounting of North Sea stocks will put us on a more stable footing for the future.”