NEW COD RECOVERY PLAN AGREED Published:  19 November, 2008

Scotland’s innovative approach towards sustainable fisheries is set to be rolled out across the rest of Europe as part of the new Cod Recovery Plan agreed in Brussels.

The plan was thrashed out in talks at the November Fisheries Council over the past 24 hours and builds on the approach set out in the Conservation Credits Scheme, pioneered by the Scottish sector in 2008.

The new Cod Recovery Plan decides how much time many European fishermen are allowed to spend at sea. It links their allocation of time at sea with conservation-friendly measures in much the same way as Scotland’s pioneering Conservation Credits Scheme.

Speaking from Brussels, Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“The trailblazing approach to sustainable fisheries management adopted by Scotland’s fishermen has been recognised and rewarded.

“The agreement allows responsibility for much day-to-day fisheries management to be handed back to member states, and it rewards Scotland for the innovative approaches our industry has adopted as well as for past sacrifices.

“Although the new target for reducing cod mortality is going to be extremely challenging, we have a head start thanks to the Scots fleet leading Europe when it comes to fisheries conservation, a fact that is now widely acknowledged.

“This was the first of three stages of the annual negotiations and our attention must now turn to the EU-Norway talks next week.

“The way is now paved for a further reward for Scotland in the form of a substantial increase in cod quota to be agreed with the Norwegians.

“Scotland will take further steps to reduce the amount of cod removed from the sea but our vessels must be allowed to land more of what they do catch and that means increasing the cod quota. It is much better to land good marketable fish than throw it dead overboard.

“Tough talks also lie ahead of us with respect to the future of our West of Scotland fishery which will be decided at the final stage of the negotiations at the December Council in Brussels.

“We are working closely with the industry and scientists to develop counter-proposals which will respond to the difficult scientific advice on our west coast whitefish stocks but not damage our lucrative nephrops sector.

“I am determined to ensure that we will continue to lead by example, and that we apply the same the trailblazing and responsible approach we have adopted on the Cod Recovery Plan to the West of Scotland proposals.”