Controversy Grows Over Deepwater Plans –

Hamish Morrison…challenging claims

Controversy Grows Over Deepwater Plans Fishing Monthly Published:  07 June, 2002

THE Scottish fishing industry today stepped up its battle against deep-water fisheries proposals by rubbishing claims that the vulnerable species will be best protected by a total allowable catch regime.

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation President Alex Smith has already voiced concern that the Spanish EU presidency will try to force through a deal on the management of the West of Britain fishery at Tuesday’s fisheries council meeting to achieve something during Spain’s term of office.

And today, federation chief executive Hamish Morrison challenged the view that scientists were backing the argument for total allowable catches rather than the Scottish industry’s route of effort limitation.

“The new Spanish Presidency compromise on this issue, which we only received yesterday, claims that new scientific advice indicates that fishing opportunities for these stocks should be limited through the establishment of TACs and quotas.

“The only scientific advice seen by the federation calls for effort reduction, not catch limits.”

And Mr Morrison said the “perversity” of the compromise was underlined by the fact that some of the more endangered species had been excluded from the proposed TAC list. In addition the compromise was calling for some TAC increases of between 50% and 500% over original proposals. This gave the impression that political rather than conservation objectives were coming into play.The effort scheme proposed in the compromise is not perfect but it is supportable in principle.

Mr Morrison added that he was writing to EU Franz Commissioner Franz Fischler urging him to withhold support for the TAC element of the compromise.

“If the Commission withholds its support, it then needs unanimous backing from member states. That means the UK can block it.”