Rockall haddock management agreement welcomed –

Rockall haddock management agreement welcomed Published:  21 September, 2011

The Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA) has issued a statement welcoming the successful conclusion of bilateral discussions between the EU and Russia in Moscow on the management of Rockall haddock.

The plan, which will now be sent to the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) for evaluation, is the product of over a decade of discussions between the two parties. 

SWFPA Chief Executive Mike Park said: “The plan is based on a very precautionary harvest rate (F= 0.2) aligned to a responsibility for total removals rather than landings; this aligns very sensibly with the change in approach currently taking place within other EU fisheries.  It is expected that the plan will be used for setting TAC’S from 2013 with formal introduction in 2014.”

Leading Scottish skipper Billy Gatt, who attended the meetings in Moscow, said: “It is tremendous to see the two parties finally agreeing.  My vessel operates at Rockall most of the year; the long term security of the stock is an absolute necessity for the future security of my business.

Tom Harcus, who operates the Orkney trawler Keila and was representing the Orkney Fishermen’s Association at the meeting, said: “This is a huge step forward, at one point we thought it was all going to fall flat again so it’s a huge sigh of relief to see the two parties finally agreeing. ICES will hopefully give it the final seal of approval.”

The haddock fishery on Rockall Bank provides a vital source of income for a very vulnerable section of the Scottish whitefish fleet that lands regularly into remote west coast ports such as Kinlochbervie and Ullapool.   Mike Park said: “SWFPA is now focussing on a sensible output to the on-going dialogue with the European Commission on the level of opportunities in 2012 provided by the recovering West of Scotland haddock stock.”