Whitefish fleet up against the wall

SCOTTISH fishing industry leaders are calling for a freeze on any further cuts in the days vessels can go out fishing amidst fears that some whitefish boats are on the brink of going out of business.

They say Europe’s cod recovery plan needs to be revised urgently as the fleet is unable to absorb any further effort reduction.


Under the current management plan, the number of days vessels can fish are being reduced year on year to allow cod stocks to recover.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said on Tuesday that their members were unable to take any more and now want the Scottish government to intervene in Brussels on their behalf.

An SFF delegation is to meet Scottish fishing minister Richard Lochhead in Aberdeen on Wednesday to make their case.

They urge the Scottish government to commission a socio-economic impact study to be used as “vital evidence” in negotiations with the European Commission.


SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “To put it bluntly, our whitefish fleet can’t take any more and there needs to be an urgent rethink of the rules.

“We have carried out our part of the bargain by co-operating with these regulations but the Scottish and UK governments must play their part in the partnership by recognising that if such measures are causing unacceptable damage to the fleet, then they must press for modifications to the regulations.

“We are now seeing a recovery in the cod stock and it is essential that the long-term plan for cod is revised so as to ensure that fishing vessels don’t go to the wall.”

Mr Armstrong added that in the run-up to the crucial end-of-the-year negotiations the federation would also be pressing for a review of the current catch composition rules and other “ill-fitting or inappropriate regulation that is currently bedevilling the industry”.

The SFF also hopes to meet with the new UK fishing minister Richard Benyon shortly.