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Cod Quota: Cuts and Discards

SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish Fish Federation has welcomed the North Sea cod TAC increase but other stocks are cut and discard measures will prove a major challenge.

Welcoming the news in the early hours of this morning (10 December) from the unusually prolonged negotiations between the EU and Norway over jointly managed fish stocks that the Total Allowable Catch for the recovering stock of North Sea cod will be increased by 30%, SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: "As usual, the figure for cod will make the headlines.

However, other important stocks have taken expected reductions in line with cyclical biological variations. North Sea haddock is down by 11%, and whiting and herring are down by 15% each.

“The welcome recognition of cod recovery, signalled by the size of the TAC increase, is balanced against a very tight set of strings attached to the matter of discard reductions on all the North Sea joint stocks.

“In particular there are limits on the speed of uptake of the cod quota which, if reached, will have effects across the whole Scottish fleet fishing in the North Sea. These new management measures will bring big challenges to which we must rise to in 2009. Gratefully, the Scottish industry, working with government has had over a year in developing cod avoidance measures and it is fair to claim that this cod increase has been facilitated by this pioneering work.

“This year’s EU/Norway negotiations have been protracted because of Norway’s assumption before and during the negotiations of a mantle of righteousness on discarding. This seemed to have more to do with negotiating advantage than anything else and the delay was largely caused by the need to iron out incompatibilities between Norwegian and EU regulations. We all enthusiastically share the management aim of eliminating discards, but the rules must be capable of practical application."

the Fish Site Editor

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