Talks may end on Thursday –

Talks may end on Thursday Published:  19 December, 2005

A FINAL compromise could be tabled in the early hours of Thursday morning in a bid to bring this week’s fisheries negotiations in Brussels to a conclusion.

That was the prediction tonight from Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong who said that the fishing industry had a clear picture of its objectives at the fish talks in Brussels which are scheduled to kick off tomorrow,Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Armstrong who said there were no disagreements with the Scottish Executive on basic priorities, said that the industry, as well as fighting against a threatened 15% reduction in days at sea, was fighting a proposed 12.63% cut in North Sea haddock and an unsatisfactory monkfish situation.

A planned 15% cut in cod was not being contested.

But Mr Armstrong said that the chance of averting a haddock reduction was very limited , given this cut had already been agreed at EU/Norway level.The hope now had to be that swaps would ease this problem.On monkfish they wanted some sort of promise that the monkfish TAC could be increased and to that end there was need for some careful and collaborative science into the state of the stock and this had to be quantified and times-scaled.

So far, he said, nothing new had beeen pulled put of the hat by the Commission and everyone knew where they stood.