Minister Pledges To Fight For Net Deal –

Minister Pledges To Fight For Net Deal Fishing Monthly Published:  17 April, 2002

Fisheries minister,Ross Finnie

SCOTLAND’S fisheries minister Ross Finnie today pledged to fight to retain the UK’s right to use a smaller whitefish mesh size.

But he warned that there was a tide of opposition elsewhere in Europe against the move to keep the 110mm mesh beyond this year.

In a special interview marking the launch of, Mr Finnie said: “We have got to understand we are in a very isolated position on this within Europe and we do not have support from other member states.

“Both UK minister Elliot Morley and myself are certainly aware of the importance of this but we are also aware of the tide that is going against us .”

And he agreed that there was still a major misunderstanding in Brussels over the precise nature of the Scottish mixed fishery and how it operates.This was a problem the Scottish Executive and UK Government had to work to put right.

Meanwhile, in answer to fishermen’s leaders’ calls for a stay in further heavyweight catch limiting measures until there has been a .

chance to evaluate the existing regime, Mr Finnie said :

“I do think we have to keep building on the process of technical and conservation measures and we have to be aware that there is a huge task ahead if we are to achieve stability in the most threatened stocks.

“However, what I would accept is that there is merit in the European Commission devoting more effort and resource into genuinely measuring the impact of these measures.But I do not think you can use that as an excuse that nothing more has to be done.”

Mr Finnie also underlined that it looks unlikely that the industry’s bid to avoid a total allowable catch regime for the deep-water stocks to the West of Britain will be wholly successful.

“We have, in harmony with the rest of the UK voiced total dissatisfaction with the proposed introduction of total allowable catches for this fishery and we have tried to kick this into touch.

“But the fact of the matter is that we are not wholly winning that argument and although we have managed to postpone any such introduction, the concept of having an element of TACs for the deepwater species remains unresolved.

“We are making it clear that the effort reduction proposals are a much more satisfactory way of going about that and we are working hard to ensure we protect the interests of the fleet.

“ There is no doubt that if the balance between idenitifying certain species as opposed to effort control measures was got wrong, it could have a very serious effect on the Scottish fleet.

“The most likely scenario is that there is an element of TACs, but we have to make sure that the balance is very much in favour of effort control.”