Onus is on Govenment to justify prawn changes – Fishupdate.com

Onus is on Govenment to justify prawn changes Published:  27 January, 2006

THE Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has met fisheries officials to discuss key outstanding issues.

And today, the federation’s chief executive Bertie Armstrong said he had left a meeting with the clear impresssion that the onus is now on the Government to create an argument for any change in the prawn allocation system, if change is necessary.

The allocation of enhanced quotas for both North Sea and West Coast prawns is still “up in the air” with the Scottish industry concerned that there could be a disproportionate allocation to the 10m and under fleet.

Mr Armstrong said today that the issue was clearly under close scrutiny at official level, although the federation did not know what the options are.

“The whole thing is completely up in the air but the federation’s policy is that there should be no change to the allocation key.

“In the meantime, officials have promised us full consultation and they recognise that the onus is on the Government to create a case for change.”

On the need to bring forward a revision of the Northern Shelf monkfish TAC, Mr Armstrong said that in the absence of a clear instruction from the European Commission on exactly what it wants, the federation was building on the observer programme which already exists.

“We will do our best from the industry side to expand this where necessary.A revision has been promised in the light of observation of the stock and therefore the industry is getting on with more observation as a matter of urgency.”

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