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EU negotiator saddled with unworkable mandate

EU - The Scottish Fishermens Federation (SFF) has expressed dismay that the final round of annual talks between the EU and Norway to set Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits for several species could result in an unviable mixed fishery in the North Sea.

This is because the EU negotiator’s hands are tied due to pressure from the Council’s Environmental Directorate calling for a 25% cut in the cod TAC, going against the evidence of good fish biology and a viable mixed fishery.

The species under discussion are vital to the importance of the Scottish fishing industry, in particular haddock, North Sea herring and cod, and all the fishing nations represented by the European Commission are in agreement in calling for a moderate, sensible and viable approach, backed up by evidence of improving stocks.

Speaking from the talks in Brussels, SFF Chief Executive Bertie Armstrong said: “The EU negotiator’s mandate is to press for a reduction of 25 per cent in the TAC for cod, which would lead either to senseless discarding or to unviable constraints being placed on a perfectly healthy industry. The mandate is extreme and untenable and we have to hope that our Norwegian counterparts come up with a sensible position.

“The Member States represented by the EC are as one calling for a moderate, sensible viable approach – which is entirely possible with the background of improving stock science, including cod.

“This is the desired outcome, but it does not bode well when the EU negotiator is sent to the table with an extreme mandate.”

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