New EC Plan Sparks Outrage –

New EC Plan Sparks Outrage Fishing Monthly Published:  16 December, 2002

STOPGAP EC plans would mean trawlers operating in the North Sea for only seven days a month a fishermen’s leader revealed tonight.

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation President Alex Smith said the European Commission’s strategy for filling a gap from January 1 next year until the next phase of the cod recovery plan was introduced in July, was outrageous.

Earlier, Mr Smith said he hoped a move by the Commission to allow until March 31 for cod recovery proposals to be formulated, with their implementation on July 1 meant new realism.

However it all depended on the contents of the emergency package the Commission would seek to reduce effort in the meantime.

“But the Commission has come out with a call for trawling in the North Sea to be limited to only seven days a month with 15 days a month allowed for trawling in the Bay of Biscay.

“This is outrageous and the Commission has now shown it is incapable of managing fisheries.”

Mr Smith said he believed the seven days provision would apply to vessels using 100mm nets and over, so the smaller 80mm mesh fishery in the Southern North Sea would continue.

He understood the same new days rules would also apply in Irish Sea and West Coast grounds for white fish trawlers.

EC fisheries ministers go back into session in Brussels tomorrow to debate the plans but Mr Smith said EC states must face up to the Commission’s “illogical and unnecessary” plan.