Cod quota for Scottish fishermen will remain unchanged in 2013 following the conclusion of the successful bilateral negotiations between the EU and Norway.
This EU-Norway agreement has substantial implications for Scotland fishing industry both at sea and onshore – including 2013 quota decisions on North Sea cod, haddock, whiting and herring, as well as the setting of a catch limit for mackerel in the ongoing absence of agreement with Iceland and Faroes.
The talks last week, which involved senior Scottish representation, resumed after the second round ended in December 2012 without an agreement being reached on how shared stocks will be allocated. They follow a successful outcome of the EU Fisheries Council Negotiations last month that resulted in a freeze in cuts to days at sea and a mechanism delivered which allowed negotiators to stop automatic cuts in cod quota this year.
Welcoming the outcome, Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “This deal is good news for Scotland’s fishermen and builds on the successful outcome of December’s fish talks in Brussels. Showing significant increases across a range of key stocks that are reaping the benefit of sensible management measures.
“Importantly we have now set mackerel limits that follow the scientific recommendations but do not in any way seek to reward the unacceptable actions of Faroe and Iceland to the detriment of the Scottish fishing industry.
“The deeply flawed cod plan proposed a further cut in quota when the stock is actually recovering, the only result would have been a trail of discards across the North Sea. This outcome will help prevent that nonsensical situation arising.
“The industry has much to look forward to in 2013 and while there will no doubt still be challenges ahead, for now at least they are able to plan ahead and be confident the future is looking brighter for them than it has for a long time.”
The highlights are as follows:
NS cod – agreed rollover of 2012 Total Allowable Catch at 10.311 tonnes
NS Haddock – increase in TAC of 15% to 29,194 tonnes
NS Whiting – increase in TAC of 11% to 11,698 tonnes
NS Plaice – increase in TAC of 15% to 25,923 tonnes
NS Saithe – increase in TAC of 15% to 7,266 tonnes
NS Herring – increase in TAC of 18% to 68,246 tonnes
Mackerel – based on assumed TAC of 542,000 tonnes and agreement that the EU and Norway again take the traditional 90.38% share
Norway others EU share increase to 6,500 tonnes
Additionally West of Scotland Saithe will see a 15% increase in TAC moving our share up to 3,627 tonnes