Executive confirms haddock cut but says there is still more to catch – Fishupdate.com

Executive confirms haddock cut but says there is still more to catch Fishing Monthly Published:  26 January, 2004

THE SCOTTISH Executive confirmed today the EU Norway talks had ended with the UK’s North Sea haddock share 10% down on what had been anticipated.

However, fishermen were still allowed to catch more haddock in the

North Sea this year,although figures meant that instead of 50,811 tonnes, the UK now had 45,770 tonnes.

Meanwhile, the controversial flexibility provision which allowed Norway, Denmark and Sweden to take Skaggerak herring in the North Sea, meant that the three nations could only fish south of 60deg and east of four degrees East, in other words in the Norwegian sector.

As far as the North Sea cod management arrangements were concerned, negotiations were still under way to try to win a better deal for Scottish fishermen.

However,they were aware that in making bids for change they also had to demonstrate they were able to uphold and enforce the necessary rules as and when necessary.

Later,Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Hamish Morrison said that he felt there was only a slight chance in his view of beneficial change in the cod recovery deal.

But he cited the views of the Norwegian delegation at the EU-Norway talks who had voiced the opinion that it was essential that any fishery closures should not be an incentive to relocate fishing effort to areas of high cod abundance, hence a haddock box would be preferable to a cod protection area .

In other words, Norway was supporting the Federation rather than the Commission line .

And this could be “quite instrumental” if the Scottish industry ended up fighting the fisheries measures through the courts

This Norwegian view was in the Norway-EU agreement and it was like someone minuting dissent at a meeting.

It was refreshing that the Norwegians backed an incentive based management system rather than a penalty based system.

But he felt that while the Commission had made a mistake over cod conservation they would not change their minds over the issue and would try to flounder on with a patently flawed system.

While the Scottish Executive said the cod management issue was not dead, all they were talking about in reality was trying to remove a few boxes from the cod protection area and fiddling at the edges of catch composition.

Meanwhile George MacRae, secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association said Norway’s attitude also had support from UK fisheries departments so clearly there is an alternative system which can work and allow fishermen to stay profitable through a haddock box.

“We are now calling on the UK Government to take over the industry’s legal action against the Commission’s cod recovery measures or at very least not to oppose the action we are raising.”