Anger over prawn quota delay –

Anger over prawn quota delay Published:  07 September, 2004

A FISHERMEN’S spokesman today, Tuesday, September 7th, dubbed as “ridiculous” the time the UK Government is taking to win an increase in the key West Coast prawn quota.

UK ministers approached the European Commission earlier this year in a bid to secure a 15% increase for the quota within this year. However the Commission said the issue needed new scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

A spokeswoman for the UK fisheries ministry told that they were still waiting to hear back from ICES on the issue.

“We should hopefully hear in early October,” she added.

But Robert Stevenson, the chief executive of the West of Scotland Fish Producer’s Organisation said today: “This is ridiculous and unacceptable and simply means that any increase will come too late to be caught this year, given the onset of autumn and winter weather.” In the meantime, he added, the industry was not able to catch a fishery not under biological pressure, to its full potential, despite the importance of prawn catching to the survival of the UK and Scottish fleet.

“The UK should have anticipated that the European Commission would have responded in this way and planned accordingly, ” he added.

Hamish Morrison, the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “I have spoken to ICES and they are fast tracking it.”

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