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Fish quota management run by lawyers

SCOTTISH fishing minister Richard Lochhead has described the outcome of last week’s frenzied negotiations over next year’s fish quota allocations as “hugely frustrating”.

The minister was updating MSPs yesterday (Wednesday) on the consequences of increased quotas but a reduced number of days fishermen can go out to do their job means to the fleet.

Mr Lochhead said averting the threat of closure of the industry, as initially proposed by the European Commission, had been a “tremendous success”

He added that it was incredibly frustrating not to have been able to implement a freeze to the further reduction in days-at-sea because of legal red tape.

“For too long common sense has been replaced by the common fisheries policy (CFP) – next year’s reforms can’t come soon enough. 

“It is hugely frustrating that we need to spend so much time and energy simply to ensure that such highly damaging and unjustified measures are not applied.  Lawyers appear to be running the show to the detriment of conservation and the fishing industry.

“The Commission admitted the cod recovery plan (CRP) isn’t working but a call from many member states for a pause in the annual automatic cuts in days at sea wasn’t possible because they could not find a legal way to implement it. 

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said he was concerned that local boats won’t have the days at sea in 2012 to catch their quotas.

“The European Commission calamitous handling of the negotiations means a further cut in days that our boats will have which could means as few as four days a fortnight at sea. There’s no other business I know that has to comply with such ludicrous rules when quotas for some species have actually been increased.

“I have every sympathy for the Scottish minister because he had agreement with Spain, Germany, France and the UK Government and yet the Commission hid behind a legal technicality to force through these cuts against the wishes of elected governments.

“The cod recovery plan should be renamed the whitefish industry destruction plan,” he said

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021