Bid to win back prawn surplus must succeed –

Bid to win back prawn surplus must succeed Published:  26 April, 2005

A FISHERMEN’S leader said today that the Scottish Executive must succeed in its bid to win a change of mind over a prawn issue.

The catching sector is calculating that there is in excess of 1800 tonnes of prawns, taking the West Coast and North Sea grounds together, which were under caught from last year’s quota allocations.

Mike Park, the chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association, said today that fishermen were being unjustly treated.

Mr Park said that the European Commission’s argument that prawn tonnage from last year could not be “banked” for this year because it was a precautionary quota last year did not stand up, particularly as the stock was abundant and in good health.

He added: “The Scottish Executive is seeking clarification of the rules and they must succeed in winning a rethink of this issue

“What we are talking about is surplus catch from last year for a stock whose circumstances have changed. The Commission view is that as it was a precautionary stock, the surplus fish cannot be banked, but the prawn stock has been redefined as an analytical quota.”

Robert Stevenson, the chief executive of the West of Scotland Fish Producers’ Organisation said that the Commission had only given a ruling on the issue in March this year.That was unacceptable.Before that the assumption had been that prawns would be bankable.

Meanwhile a second meeting of fishermen’s representatives is due to take place in Brussels later today in a bid to win ascceptance of the need for a European fuel policy for the EU fleet.

Mr Park again underlined that that there had to be both short and long term measures to ease the fuel cost burden. The European Commission had to accept that a fuel policy was an economic constituent for fleet recovery and survival in both the short and long term.

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