Interim deal agreed in days' wrangle – Fishupdate.com

Interim deal agreed in days’ wrangle Published:  24 February, 2005

IN what is only an interim solution to a controversial issue, Scottish fishermen who qualify will be able to take advantage of additional days fishing as set out in European regulations published in January.

However, Scottish Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie has warned skippers to be cautious, given the continuing uncertainty.

The European Commission have previously said that the extension of a derogation to the North Sea which gives three additional days for vessels using 120 mm square mesh panels was a mistake on their part.

But they have now agreed that fishermen who have, in good faith, purchased gear in order to qualify, should be able to take advantage of the derogation until the mistake can be rectified.

Scottish Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie said: “This arrangement represents common sense and will help to defray costs incurred by fishermen who have already acquired gear in good faith.

“We continue to press the Commission to make a proposal to clarify the situation as ongoing uncertainty is not helpful for the industry.

“It remains to be seen how this mistake will be resolved and we would advise fishermen to take account of this continuing uncertainty before incurring any additional expenditure.”

However Scottish Shadow Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead attacked the Common Fisheries Policy for yet again tying the fishing industry in “bureaucratic knots.”

He maintained: “Fishermen have literally geared themselves up to qualify for the extra three days and are now being told that they can keep them but only for a couple of months. This will go little way to appease an industry that has been treated shabbily and that

has gone to great expense with the expectation that they would gain

the extra days. Ross Finnie should be pressing Europe for a

better deal.After all, Sweden is getting to take advantage of these extra days for the whole of 2005 and they didn’t have to halve the

size of their fleet for the privilege! The Scots who have made

huge sacrifices are the ones being penalised.”

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