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Management Measures & Catches Cause Concern

Economics +1 more

UK - Following a preliminary introductory meeting on 1 July, SFF President Alan Coghill and Chief Executive Bertie Armstrong held a second meeting with UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon on Thursday 16 September to update him on the concerns of the Scottish catching industry and look ahead to the negotiations for catching opportunity in 2011.

A central point raised was that despite improvements in most of the major target stocks – with some such as North Sea Haddock already being fished at ‘Maximum Sustainable Yield’ – for a variety of differing reasons the application of management measures was making life acutely difficult for almost all sections of the Scottish fleet. The serious nature of the situation was emphasised to the Minister.

Amongst the topics raised was the difficult situation currently faced by the pelagic sector due to the gross over-catching of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroes. For the whitefish fleet, the SFF highlighted the concerns caused by days at sea restrictions and discarding as a result of the long-term management plan for cod. The difficulties facing virtually every other sector of the industry was also discussed with the Minister.

Bertie Armstrong said: “The Minister listened carefully and was keen to assure us that whatever action could be taken would be. For example on the difficulties with international mackerel arrangements, he reiterated the support that he has publicly given to date.”

Alan Coghill said: “We discussed the potential alternative management options that could be pursued and made it clear that for 2011, whatever was agreed must give a period of stability to allow the industry to revive.

“We also agreed that if a successful outcome for the industry in 2011 is to be achieved, then united action across the UK was a necessity, with well thought through and agreed goals. If catch quotas, or a system based on removals from the sea rather than landings ashore, is to be successful then all the potential consequences must be identified and time allowed for benefits to be actually realised. It must also - as a fundamental condition - be aligned with collection of additional data to improve the science.”