The Scottish government’s fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing has urged the UK government “to stop fish quotas from being traded away unnecessarily” during crucial EU fisheries negotiations this coming week .
Ahead of the EU December Council fisheries negotiations, Ewing said the UK Government must take the “vital needs” of Scottish fishermen into account.
Ewing will attend the conclusion of the Agrifish Council’s annual talks in Brussels on Monday, which will decide the industry’s fish quotas for 2017.
He urged the UK government to take Scotland’s interests into account when it negotiates on behalf of the whole of the UK.
The Scottish government is calling for greater flexibility for vessels to allow them to fish in more areas, and is appealing to the UK Fisheries Minister to stop fish quotas from being traded away unnecessarily as part of these negotiations.
Ewing said: “At these vital end of year negotiations it’s crucial that the UK delegation focuses on the day job and getting the best possible deal for our industry.
“A good deal for Scotland would mean more flexibility for vessels and an acknowledgement that quota trading must be in Scotland’s interests.
“Scotland should be at the heart of discussions which is why we will push the UK Government to deliver the best deal possible this week.
“If they do not act on our vital needs the results could be financially damaging.
“We have delivered some good results for the fleet so far at EU/Norway and EU/Faroe with cod, whiting, saithe and mackerel, but it’s important that there’s recognition of the diverse nature of fishing, and that many other species require our attention.
“My priority is ensuring that Scotland’s fishing industry — and the onshore jobs and businesses supported by that industry — gets a deal which serves all of our interests.
“I’d be very disappointed if the uncertainty of Scotland’s and the UK’s future in the EU is allowed to influence our negotiating position.
“There is a time and a place for those discussions — these negotiations are not it.”