Changing quota rules is key need – Fishupdate.com

Changing quota rules is key need Published:  18 August, 2005

ENSURING that catch quota is attached only to seagoing vessels would significantly help vessel operating costs, a fishermen’s spokesman said today.

George MacRae, the secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association, said that the flavour of the month in terms of economic aspects was the rising cost of fuel.

While this was a crucial issue, its effect could be significantly mitigated if those retaining quota which was not now attached to a vessel were no longer able to do so.

Quota should only be attached to vessels still going to the fishing grounds, he said.

He added : “The industry view is that quota should be available only to seagoing fishermen, not treated as a commodity which is retained in private hands for trading to the highest bidder at maximum market value,creating on-costs which the industry cannot cope with.

“If these high costs for quota leasing were taken out of the equation, fuel would not be having the same critical impact on vessel costs.

“The Government has allowed this to happen and the situation seems to be totally ignored”

Mr MacRae said he wanted to underline the impact of the quota trading issue against an uncertain outcome in terms of efforts to win fuel relief in an EU context.

He was not at all convinced that real commitment was there from the UK government to help the situation and one problem was that while fishermen had a “monumental” problem over fuel, other industry sectors, including road hauliers, could say the same.

The issue raised many complexities including the need to stay within state aid provisions.In the meantime, the cost of fuel was still on the rise with no one really certain when increases would stop.

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