EC Option Spells Madhouse Economics –

EC cod plan spells “economic madness…”

EC Option Spells Madhouse Economics Fishing Monthly Published:  19 November, 2002

THE European Commission option of an 80% cut in cod, haddock and whiting TACs, plus an equivalent cut in effort is as bad as a total closure, Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association secretary George MacRae said tonight.

“This reduction means that earnings of £50,000 in 2002 would be reduced to £10,000 in 2003, the economics of the madhouse which suggests the lunatics have taken over the asylum.”

It was easy to say millions are being made available within Europe to offset the damage which will be done as a result of this amended proposal if it is accepted, but the whole fleet could not tie up for a year or more, with vessels deteriorating, no support infrastructure of maintenance/repair, little or no income being earned and vessels/families mortgages still having to be paid, plus other expenses.

“ In addition, the supply of raw material from the Scottish fleet to fish processors would dry up and local economies would collapse like a pack of cards.”

But the 80% option is only the opening Commission bid, he said.The pattern of negotiation is now well known and deals will be done between individual countries and the Commission.However,doing deals in smoked filled rooms has never really been part of the UK style.

“But if our Industry is to survive then our Ministers have to get their nose in the European trough of goodies, shove others to the side if necessary and fight for the UK and particularly the Scottish industry.”