ANXIETY IN SCOTTISH FLEET MUST BE ADDRESSED BY MINISTERS – McARTHUR Published: 25 March, 2009
Commenting ahead of the meeting next week between the European Commission and representatives of the fishing industry, Liberal Democrat Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said: ‘The restrictions, agreed to by the Scottish Government last December, will have serious financial implications for large sections of the Scottish fleet. The industry is right to use the Commission’s visit next week to highlight the problems being created by the effort control plans.
‘However, other issues must also be raised, including the catch composition rules for the West Coast whitefish fleet. To date, Scottish ministers have been utterly unable to clarify how these restrictions can be made to work. Commission officials may have more success, though hopes are not high.
‘Likewise, there are concerns about the quality of the science on the West Coast. With boats unable to catch cod, haddock or whiting, the risk is that, if landing data is again used to set catching opportunities next year, the consequences could be even more dire. Again, this is something on which the Commission and Scottish Ministers need to provide answers.
‘The Commission proposed these rules. Scottish Ministers signed up to them. Between them, they must now explain to fishermen how they will work out at sea.