THE Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has described the outcome of the annual December Fisheries Council as challenging but acceptable for the fishing fleet.
This year’s meeting produced a mixed bag of results for 2019, with cod catches in the Skagerrak and Kategutt area if the North Sea down. But fishermen will be allowed to catch more hake in those areas.
The Fisheries Council, as expected, has cut mackerel quotas by 20 per cent, and there was mixed news for cod and haddock, with catch rates reduced in some areas and increased in others, such as the Irish Sea.
Next year the number of fish stocks managed at maximum sustainable yield levels will rise to 59, and there will be additional protection for the European eel.
At the same time, EU fishermen in the Atlantic and the North Sea will be able to increase their catches of a number of healthy stocks, said the Commission.
SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong (pictured) said: ‘The talks have been difficult, as they always are, with the additional element this year of politics related to Brexit.
‘For the Scottish industry, the central issue has been the inclusion of measures to limit the risk of ‘chokes’ by swapping between member states.
‘The Scottish delegation worked long and hard along with their UK colleagues to give the best chance of avoiding fleet shutdown during 2019.
‘In the end, it is clear that our best interests can only be put first when we have left the CFP and are able to decide who catches what, where and when in UK waters.’