Bradshaw must end permit system –

Bradshaw must end permit system Published:  22 October, 2004

ORKNEY and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called on UK Fisheries Minister, Ben Bradshaw, to fight at the December EU fisheries council for an end to the haddock permit scheme.

Meanwhile the Minister has asked him-and the Shetland fishing industry-for suggestions on how UK fisheries tactics can be improved.

The isles MP told the Minister in the House of Commons that the haddock permit scheme has caused severe problems for the Shetland whitefish fleet.

“ Does he accept that if continued into 2005 this will lead to increased dumping of haddock which is surely not what anyone wants. Will he make every effort this December to ensure that this scheme does not form part of next year’s settlement?”

Ben Bradshaw told him he was aware of the problems and it was important to maximise fishermen’s opportunities to catch stocks – like haddock – which are plentiful, while protecting cod.

He went on to pledge that the Government will look very closely at what can be done in the run-up to this December’s council to address the problems But if the Shetland MP or his industry have any practical suggestions that they have not already submitted to officials as to how that might be done, he would be very grateful to receive them.

Meanwhile a fishermen’s spokesman has contended that politicians are in a “complete mess” over monkfish.

George MacRae, the secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association said the latest idea coming out of the Advisory Committee for Fisheries Management was that for the next three years there should be a free for all for monkfish so they can establish exactly what the level of stocks are.

But that will never be accepted by the European Commission, he said and what was needed instead was a substantial increase in available tonnage, with control of effort.

Effort needed to be capped within that tonnage not only to avoid a free for all but also to head off the danger of other states building up track records for which they had no historic entitlement.

Meanwhile it was a foolish and disingenuous argument to say that because cod stocks had not recovered you have to cut back any fishery with a cod by catch.

“There has been no commercial fishing for cod off the Grand Banks since 1991 and the cod stock has not recovered. You cannot blame that on fishermen yet at same time the seal population has grown enormously and they eat cod.

“The position has to be addressed: do we continue with this principle of cod regeneration which determines the level of exploitation for every other stock no matter how healthy it is, or do we accept the reality that we have a situation where in the main we can catch other species including haddock and prawns without having any major impact on cod.”

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