Move to woo Russians over Rockall hadock likely this week –

Move to woo Russians over Rockall hadock likely this week Published:  13 November, 2006

Mike Park

THE European Commission is expected to make overtures to Russia this week over a possible haddock management plan for Rockall haddock.

Mike Park the executive chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association said today that he understood an attempt would be made at this week’s North-east Atlantic Fisheries Commission meeting to engage the Russians on the issue.

“The Russians might well say that they have no remit to discuss this, however I would look on an approach as a positive development.

“Of course, the contents of any management plan would have to be such as to interest the Russians and accordingly, an amount of haddock would have to go to the Russians.

“But what we cannot have is a situation where the Russians do not agree to a management plan but still have haddock set aside to cover their actions. That would be a disincentive for them in terms of participating in any management.”

The need to win the Russians over in terms of a more formal and conservation minded approach to fishing in the Rockall area has long been fuelled by their use of small mesh nets with the implications for haddock conservation and the impact of Russian trawlers on grey gurnard stocks, which Mr Park said had been reduced to a by-catch fishery.

Haddock stock in the area has shown signs of recovery, but Mr Park said that a drastic drop in the level of UK catching effort in the area could not be forgotten in this context.

“But the sensible aim must now be to regulate haddock catching effort in the Rockall area,” he underlined.