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14 December 2017

Stevenson Welcomes Additional Fishing Opportunities

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed an additional £44million of fishing opportunities for Scotland’s industry following annual negotiations in Brussels.

The package includes a strong increase of 38% for North Sea whiting, 20% for monkfish, 22% for North Sea Norway lobster and 26% for west of Scotland haddock.

Nine of the 13 stocks the Scottish Government measures its sustainability performance against have been set in line with the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for 2018.

It is the highest possible annual catch that can be sustained over time by keeping the stock at the level producing maximum growth – an increase from 62% this year.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Once again during challenging negotiations, the Scottish Government has secured a strong result for the sector.

“As well as more than £440million in deals for the industry, crucial increases have also been made for key species.

“Of course, Brexit has had a significant impact on negotiations this year but I have no doubt the Scottish Government will continue to fight for assurances from the UK Government that they will not trade access to Scottish waters away.”

Another important gain made in addressing a major potential choke species under the landing obligation was a new geographic flexibility provision for ling.

It will help the industry deal with shortfalls in the North Sea and allow them to transfer up to 15% of quota from the west of Scotland if needed.

This is in addition to a 10% increase in the total allowable catch limit for the North Sea, which wil provide additional relief to quote shortages.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing commented:

“Compared to 2017 this is an extra £44 million of fishing opportunities which means our industry will go into 2018 in strong health. I am also pleased that we received more
flexibilities for ling, which will prevent our vessels from being tied up early when there is sufficient quota elsewhere.

“However I am frustrated that the European Commission was unwilling to accept any of our proposals on Cod and Norway lobster that would have assisted vessels operating on the west coast of Scotland.

“We cannot and will not accept Scottish fishing interests being put at risk.”
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