Speaking in a debate in the Scottish Parliament , Mr Lochhead explained that Scotland can expect an increase to many of our most important stocks, including 10 of 15 whitefish stocks. And, over and above that, additional quota will be made available for species and stocks included in the 2016 discard ban.
The debate comes ahead of the fisheries council which will see a final package of quotas agreed for next year.
With landings up by nearly a fifth in the last year and revenues worth over £500 million the fishing industry continues to make a healthy contribution to rural and coastal communities.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead said:
“The discard ban is a real positive for the industry, with the double benefit of significant additional quota for haddock to cover what used to be thrown away and improvements to stocks through ending the wasteful practice of throwing perfectly good fish back into the sea.
“I am aware that the industry faces challenges with the discard ban. But with challenges come opportunities and these improvements couldn’t come at a better time. If we are serious about managing our natural resources, conserving fish stocks and playing a meaningful role in improving global food security, the discard ban is a no-brainer.
“Through the hard work, commitment and creativity of our fishermen, our fishing industry is in a positive place, with north sea cod expected to increase by 15 per cent next year to the highest advised catch tonnage for 15 years. Haddock, Monkfish and Megrim are also showing healthy increases and the industry is worth £500 million to the economy.
“In two weeks’ time I will attend the December Council to agree the final package of quota and rest assured I will do my utmost to fight for Scottish interests. I want to get the best deal possible for our fishermen to help them build on the success already achieved and help ensure a sustainable and profitable industry for years to come.”