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Advisory Committee on Fisheries Management

SCOTLAND - The ACFM report issued today by the International Commission for the Exploration of the Seas gives the scientific advice for a range of fish stocks of importance to the Scottish fishing industry.

This is the raw information on which some of the fisheries management proposals for 2008 will be based; the actual proposals will come from Europe’s Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee (STECF) in time for short discussion before the December Council of Ministers in Brussels. The Council will decide, just before Christmas, what catching opportunity and regulations will govern the industry in 2008.

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Chief Executive Bertie Armstrong said: “The portion of the advice which stands out most clearly is that for North Sea Cod. After 6 years of advising “zero catch “ the position now is that cod can be rebuilt quickly, with low fishing pressure. This is excellent news, reflecting scientific proof of what the fishermen had been reporting for some time – that cod was recovering in the North Sea. Advice for the other stocks of importance to the Scottish industry reflects what should be expected of a dynamic, interdependent ecosystem – some species are doing well, others less so.

For example Haddock in the North Sea requires some care next year, whilst Haddock at Rockall is in good shape. Monkfish are in a stable condition, Northern Hake is positively healthy and not enough is know scientifically about whiting. The balance is fair, but the negotiations yet to take place from now until Christmas will set the scene for 2008.

The industry has been working hard all year with the scientific community and the Scottish Government to produce a package of responsible actions to ensure sustainable fishing for next year and into the future. Such things as voluntary closures to avoid cod and technical measures to reduce discarding are but two practical examples of a proactive approach to responsible fishing”.