Most fish quotas increased in Brussels talks

Annual negotiations in Brussels resulted in increased fish quotas for 16 out of 23 key Scottish stocks and “additional fishing opportunities” worth around £47 million, said Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing.

The overall package which concluded at December Council included increased fish quotas for 16 Scottish stocks including cod, saithe and mackerel.

Deals negotiated in Brussels included strong increases of £12 million for Norway lobster and £5 million for monkfish, the Scottish Government said.

Significant wins from this year’s talks also included an extra 1,500 tonnes of Arctic cod quota coming to the UK following an increase at the EU/Norway talks.

This particular measure was secured following meetings between Ewing and the UK’s Fisheries Minister in the run-up to the December talks.

“This will be available for swaps with other countries to bring in additional quota of stocks that may be running short in the North Sea such as cod, haddock, whiting and saithe which is particularly important with more stocks coming under the discard ban in 2017,” said the Scottish Government.

The talks also secured extra flexibility around where vessels are able to fish.

Ewing said: “The fishing industry is a vital part of our rural economy which is why it’s good news that we’ve secured crucial increases for the majority of our key species.

“These deals are worth around £45 million to the industry.

“To achieve improved deals for 16 out of 23 of our key stocks is a very satisfactory outcome for the Scottish fleet and one that’s been strongly welcomed by the senior industry representatives in Brussels.

“I’m delighted that our long-standing calls to give vessels greater flexibility around where they can fish, have been answered, and from 2017 our fleet will be able to make use of this new provision.

“In these uncertain times I’m pleased that issues around Brexit did not compromise our negotiating position. We worked constructively to put people’s livelihoods first, and founding on the scientific advice, helped secure a good deal that can be well received by Scots fishermen.”