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6 million Funding For Scottish Fleets

by the Fish Site Editor
24 May 2010, at 1:00am

SCOTLAND, UK - Speaking from the Fishing Expo 2010 in Glasgow last week, Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead set out his priorities and thinking on the challenges currently facing the industry.

Mr Lochhead announced around £6 million of additional domestic funds will also be made available to support the Fisheries Action Plan. Match funding from the European Fisheries Fund could deliver substantial additional investment into the industry this financial year.

Mr Lochhead added that pressing Brussels and London for 'immediate and radical changes' to European fisheries policy would be pursued as 'a matter of urgency'.

The Scottish Fisheries Minister called for Scottish boats involved in catch quota trials to be made exempt from the EU's days at sea regime.

he also announced that a new scheme allowing two businesses to transfer their days at sea to one vessel to cut costs will be introduced from next month.

Mr Lochhead said: "Scotland should be proud of it's fishing industry. Our fishermen are responsible for bringing the finest seafood in the world to our tables and are leading the rest of Europe with their conservation credentials.

"Of course the past few years have seen the perfect storm for some sectors. A global recession, volatile fuel prices, and a reduction in fishing opportunities for some sectors when they need shelter from rising costs and fluctuating fish prices.

"However the industry is already beginning to take control of its own destiny, breaking new ground on many fronts. These measures are being co-ordinated and given momentum through our Fisheries Action Plan.

"We are maximising the value of the catch, by reforming the whole supply chain, from net to plate, and tackling the madness of the broken Common Fisheries Policy. Scotland has led Europe by example, so that fishermen can land, and sell, more of the fish they catch, rather than throwing it dead over the side of the boat.

"And we are developing innovative ways in which the industry can share and reduce costs. This will give the Scottish fleet the opportunity to restructure, albeit temporarily, in order to weather the storm. It is optional and reversible. I am confident this offers opportunities across the fleet to improve operating profits.

"We need to cut some vessels' basic allocations of days, retrospectively, but we are making available new options to vessels by using fishing gear that lets more Cod escape. Over a full year this will allow them to buy back more days than they stand to lose.

"Our innovative catch quota trial has been rolled out to another 21 vessels. We will work to secure full catch quota opportunities for our fleet and make them exempt from days at sea restrictions.

"We are also making substantial domestic resources of £6 million available to support innovative ideas, alongside matched EU funding, subject to Commission approval. This could be used to purchase selective gears, electric auction facilities at Scottish markets - building on Lerwick's success - and funding research to highlight practices that can maximise the value of the supply chain.

"By sticking together Scottish fisheries can take its rightful place as the most profitable, the most sustainable and best managed fishery in the world."

the Fish Site Editor