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International Fish Talks in Orkney

ORKNEY, SCOTLAND, UK - Delegations from the European Commission and Norway will descend on Orkney next week, as talks continue on the EU-Norway fishing agreement for 2013 and beyond.

The meeting in Kirkwall from June 6-8 will be jointly hosted by the Scottish Government, Orkney Islands Council and the Orkney Fisheries Association. Discussions will aim to review and revise management plans on how the shared stocks of cod, herring and Saithe are sustainably fished.

Officials and scientists from seven EU member states the UK, France, Poland, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark will attend the talks, with a total of more than 30 people taking part. Participants will also have an opportunity to sample the worlds most northerly malt whisky, at an evening event at the Highland Park distillery on June 7.

Scottish Government officials from Marine Scotland will be part of the discussions, along with key representatives from the Scottish fishing industry. Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead commented:

I am sure that all the delegates attending these talks will be taken aback by the beauty of the Orkney Islands and the warmth of the welcome. We need these discussions to progress constructively, because the EU-Norway fishing agreement is of critical importance to Scottish vessels, including those based in Orkney.

This meeting will set the foundations for decisions on quota and fishing opportunities for three important stocks cod, herring and saithe which EU and Norwegian fishermen both rely on. Whats important is that we get these decisions right, with management plans in place that support sustainable fishing so that fishing communities in Orkney and around Scotland have a long term, viable future.

Alan Coghill, President of the Scottish Fishermens Federation and Chief Executive of the Orkney Fish Producers Organisation, said: It is critical for Scottish fishermen that we have an outcome from the final EU-Norway agreement that supports the fishing activities of our fleet while underpinning the sustainability of the fish stocks. Orkney is a special setting for these important talks to take place and I hope they will prove to be very productive.

Convener of Orkney Islands Council, Steven Heddle, said: We are very pleased to be involved in hosting this vital meeting, in support of one of Orkneys and Scotlands most important industries.

The meeting will focus on long-term management plans under the EU-Norway Fisheries Agreement. It is a follow-up to the recent scientific seminar hosted by Norway in Svalbard and aims to tie down the final drafting of these plans. The in-year discussions in Kirkwall will lay the groundwork for the end-of-year fisheries negotiations between the EU and Norway.

Lucy Towers

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