An international conference on the future of fisheries management gets underway in Edinburgh tomorrow.

Six of Europe’s seven Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) will meet with the European Commission, Member States, scientists and economists to discuss the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Delegates from Europe, Japan and Australia will join in the debate to define a way forward.

The Scottish Government is hosting the event at the Merchants’ Hall as part of its wider consultation into the CFP.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead will give the keynote address tomorrow. Mr Lochhead is expected to set out a vision of how Scotland can reap the benefits of taking control of its own fisheries and call for greater action to address the scandal of discards.

Speaking ahead of the Conference, Mr Lochhead said: ‘This major international conference will help highlight why Scotland is so well-placed to lead the debate on future fisheries management.

‘The interim report of the Inquiry into Future Fisheries Management proposed a positive way forward and is the first meaningful contribution to the debate on the future of the CFP.

‘Our fishermen have suffered the worst aspects of the existing management regime. We must now seize the opportunity to set out our ambitious plans on a regional approach and reform that delivers devolved decision making.

‘Deciding how we are to best manage our seas once we regain control of fisheries policy must be done in partnership with the industry – which is why our consultation on the future of fisheries management is so important.

‘Some of our fishermen are in the middle of a storm caused by a broken CFP and low quayside prices, but by working together we can navigate our way through it. The Commission must act now on discards to help to help the fishing industry sail towards a more sustainable and profitable future.’