Ban threat to Scottish fleets after talks fail –

Ban threat to Scottish fleets after talks fail Published:  09 December, 2009

SCOTLAND’S fishing fleet faces the possibility of being banned from Norwegian waters following a breakdown in talks last night between the European Union and Norway over fishing rights failed to reach agreement.

Such a ban would apply to all EU vessels, but Scotland would be one of the countries hardest hit because it is so close to Norway and many of its boats regularly fish up there are certain times of the year.

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: ‘At this stage it is too early to assess what the breakdown in these talks will mean for Scottish fishermen in 2010 and it is possible that the current arrangements will be rolled over into next year.

‘However, the failure in these negotiations does add extra uncertainty in what is already a very difficult situation for Scottish fishermen. It is now more vital than ever that a fair and sensible arrangement is agreed at next week’s Fish Council meeting.’

Two months ago exclusively predicted problems after the Norwegian government delivered a protest to the EU when more than 40 Norwegian boats fishing for mackerel were summarily turned away from Scottish waters.

This has angered fishing groups in Norway and the Norwegian Association of Fishing Boat Owners raised the temperature by demanding Oslo issue a counter threat to deny EU vessels access to Norwegian grounds. Fishing remains an emotive issue in Norway despite its oil riches.

Meanwhile, Bertie Armstrong is hoping a temporary deal can be agreed at next week’s European Fisheries Council meeting.