Fishing quota deal 'a mixed bag' - quota threads in one list
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Thread: Fishing quota deal 'a mixed bag' - quota threads in one list

  1. #1

    Default Fishing quota deal 'a mixed bag' - quota threads in one list
    Scottish fishing leaders say EU proposals to close a substantial area of the west coast to commercial fishing have come as an industry bombshell.

    The measures, set to be introduced next year from west of Shetland, would hit important species such as cod, haddock and whiting.

    The European Commission said the move was vital to protect stocks.

    Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said he hoped the worst of the measures could be seen off in negotiations.

    The measures affect waters at depths less than 200 metres and will also affect prawn fisherman who also catch white fish.

    Many fishing vessels will go to the wall because if they can't fish in the traditional fishing grounds where else can they go?
    George MacRae
    Scottish White Fish Producers' Association

    Kenneth Patterson, from the European Commission, said: "The situation is serious enough that the scientific committees concerned have advised a closure or reduction to the lowest possible level for cod, haddock and whiting.

    "Having said that, our intentions would be to let the largest part of fishing activity, that doesn't catch cod, haddock and whiting, continue with as little impact as possible."

    Fishing boat skipper James Reid, from Fraserburgh, said: "There are a lot of little islands and this fish is their only source of income so to close that is a disaster."

    George MacRae, from the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association, said: "It's a bombshell. Communities will really struggle. Many fishing vessels will go to the wall because if they can't fish in the traditional fishing grounds where else can they go?

    "Some of these boats might well come into the North Sea, creating more pressure on stocks that we are trying to do so much to conserve and regenerate at the moment."

  2. #2

    Exclamation Fishermen land cod deal at talks
    Scottish fishermen have won a 30% increase in the amount of cod they are allowed to land next year.

    But they will have to sign up to tougher regulations on the number of the fish thrown back in to the sea.

    The increase comes after discussions between the EU and Norway, which have taken longer than expected.

    They disagreed on how to try to end the controversial process of discards, where undersized fish are thrown back into the water, often dead.

    The talks have been deciding on quotas for waters shared by the UK, as part of the EU, and Norway.

    Norway has a ban on fish discards but the EU does not. Scottish fishermen have taken a series of measures to cut down on the number of fish thrown back.

    Mike Park, executive chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association, said the talks in Oslo had been productive.

    He said: "It has been lengthy and prolonged discussions with Norway, who have been quite severe in trying to impose measures on the community to reduce discards, not only for cod but for other species, next year.

    "Part of the deal, as payment for that, is a 30% increase in the cod total-allowable-catch which we feel is just desert for some of the measures we have carried out.

    "It's a significant shift and we are happy."

    The meeting in Oslo comes ahead of a European summit in Brussels, where the EU divides up quotas for fish in its waters

  3. #3

    Default Major battle is looming over closure plan

    Friday, 12 December 2008 15:48
    FISHERMEN'S leaders are gearing up for a showdown next week over draconian EU plans to effectively close down West of Scotland fisheries.

    Bertie Armstrong, the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said today that the European Commission's extreme strategy for these fishing grounds would be the "main focus" at the end-of-year fisheries council in Brussels which kicks off next Thursday.

    Meanwhile, he said that next week in Brussels would also provide the first chance to see the fine print of the deal between the EU and Norway on reducing mortality.

    "I remain exercised by the challenges for next year of reducing mortality and abiding by the spirit of what has been signed up for between the EU and Norway," he went on.

    He added: "It is extremely important that we avoid regulations which effectively create a brick wall once you have reached your quota."

    According to the European Commission, the Norway-EU deal represents a "significant deepening" of the already strong co-operation between both sides.

    Part of the deal sees an EU commitment to minimise and ultimately eradicate discards, including consideration of a discard ban in the context of the next reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

    The deal "prepares this step" according to the Commission by introducing a number of measures to enhance selectivity, including real-time area closures to protect juvenile and undersized fish concentrations, 'low cod gears' to prevent cod catches, and a ban on 'high grading,' the practice of discarding legally caught but less valuable fish in order to increase the final value of the total catch.

    Mike Park, the executive chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association said today that it was "inconceivable" at a time when they are trying to build stakeholder relationships that any closure scheme for the West Coast could be put in place given the short time-scale for sensible dialogue.

    "At the very least, some sensible measures should be adopted to give more time for dialogue," he said.

    Meanwhile Mr Park said he did not detect any "brick wall " mentality in the terms of the deal between the EU and Norway.

    The York-based National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) have told their membership that "much detail remains to be resolved" in terms of the Norway deal.

    And the federation contend that although Norway and the Community both recognise that the North Sea cod stock is recovering rapidly as a result of a combination of dramatically reduced fishing mortality and improved recruitment, the 30% increase in the TAC for next year represents a compromise position that owes more to presentational considerations than a serious attempt to underpin successful cod avoidance strategies.

    "ICES catch forecasts for next year suggest that a TAC of 44,000 rather than the agreed 28, 798 tonnes could have been justified and this on its own would have substantially reduced discards. Having raised North Sea cod to iconic status, both parties appear to have placed PR considerations above serious attempts to make alternative cod avoidance measures a reality.

    "This is disappointing but not altogether surprising. The EU Council of Ministers endorsed a mandate of a North Sea cod TAC in the range of 25% to 35% but it is doubtful if the Commission ever contemplated agreeing to the higher figure.

    "It remains to be seen what the practical effect of the ban on high grading and other cod measures will be. In particular, it only became clear towards the end of the negotiations that the ban on high grading applied to a wider range of stocks than cod. Much detail remains to be resolved."

    Meanwhile Mr Armstrong agreed that heading off the Commission's West Coast close down plans was vitally important.

    But he felt this closure approach was politically unacceptable as well as potentially disastrous for the catching sector and he believed that if the Commission did not withdraw the plan it would become a "top priority" for UK negotiators.

    As for other issues, Mr Armstrong said that they were still looking for a roll-over of existing nephrops quotas, increases in monkfish and megrims plus a more staged approach to any West Coast herring quota reduction.

  4. #4

  5. #5


    Fishing communities 'face threat'
    Fishermen are warning dozens of fragile communities could be devastated under EU proposals to close down the fishing industry off Scotland's west coast.

    The plans would ban fishing for cod, haddock and whiting.

    But the scheme, discussed in Brussels this week, could also force more than 300 prawn boats out of business.

    EU scientists say stocks of white fish are so low off the west of Scotland that trawling for these species should be banned altogether.

    They have also called for modifications to the nets of hundreds of tiny prawn boats which could help cod and haddock to escape.

    This would be politically and economically unacceptable and will be opposed at industry, Scottish and UK government levels

    But skippers have claimed the idea is completely impractical and warned that if the plans were implemented they would have no option but to tie up for good.

    Prawns are now the mainstay of many small fishing villages from Shetland to Stranraer and the moves could wipe out hundreds of onshore processing jobs too.

    The west coast fishery is also important for the north east of Scotland fleet.

    Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead has branded the proposals outrageous and will oppose the shutdown when he heads for Europe's annual fisheries negotiations on Tuesday.

    The Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) warned the west coast proposals were unacceptable and would be challenged.

    'Sensible approach'

    Its chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, said: "We recognise that the west coast cod, haddock and whiting stocks are in a poor state and action is needed to aid their recovery.

    "But the langoustine stock is in a healthy state and the proposal for separator grids for the fishery, which is the bread and butter of the west coast fleet, will effectively close fishing down on the west coast.

    "This would be politically and economically unacceptable and will be opposed at industry, Scottish and UK Government levels."

    He added: "We are instead calling for a more sensible approach to the management of the fishery by advocating the use of more selective trawls that will enable whitefish to escape from the net whilst still retaining the valuable langoustine catch.

    "Over the last few years, Scottish fishermen have pioneered a series of initiatives that has delivered tangible results in terms of stock conservation.

    "We are calling on the EC to give due recognition of our efforts and to accept our alternative conservation proposals."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Fraserburgh , Scotland

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    can i ask if the icelandic cod fising grounds are going to be subjected to any closures?if not how on earth can our government sit by and let brussels once again try to ruin the british economy by closing our fishing grounds?this government has got to realise that they cannot keep cowtowing to the germans in brussels.i am not racist but it does seem to me that what certain factions couldnt achieve through two world wars they are achieving by using brussels and this eu nonsense.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    the rosses, co.donegal


    what i always maintained jon-a european superstate through political means rather than force- seen in the headlines today- imperial measures to stay-a minor victory but what good when most of the rule making is coming from brussels-when they get enough control you will just be told what to do. i also am not a racist or a bigot-but i am a realist.

  9. #9

    Angry Luce Bay targeted for angling conservation

    A conservation group is supporting a move to turn Luce Bay
    into a restricted fishing zone. The Scottish sea angling conservation network has taken its idea for angling re-genertion centres to environment cabinet secretary Richard Lochead. Could this be Lamlash Bay mk2 another no go area
    Last edited by jamie; 19th December 2008 at 08:16. Reason: new thought

  10. #10

    Default 'We are the last of the hunters'
    It's four o'clock in the morning and skipper Steven Veart clambers down a slippery metal ladder at North Yorkshire's Whitby docks to climb aboard the Defiant trawler.

    Next down the ladder is Les Wale, a fisherman for nearly 40 years.

    His toothy grin and effervescent spirit have landed him roles as an extra in TV shows like Heartbeat - moonlighting is increasingly necessary when the day job is as financially perilous as this.

    Also on board are two Filipino men, Freddie Fabregas, 48, and 28-year-old Raymond Blalais.

    Prospects in the fishing industry are so gloomy, Mr Veart tells me, no local lads are interested any more.

    It is the livelihoods of such men that will be affected by the current talks between EU fisheries ministers on the quantities of fish which can be caught from Europe's seas in 2009.

    As we head out to sea at a steady five miles an hour, we each clutch mugs of steaming tea as a biting easterly breeze blows in our faces.

    Fishing for generations

    "We're the last of the hunters. I think there's us and the Eskimos. They go for seals, we go for fish," Mr Wale, 54, tells me.

    "I learnt off my father, he learnt off his father, and he learnt off his father and I suppose he learnt off his father. We go back at least five generations in fishing in our family."

    But Les Wale will be last in that long family line. He has told his two sons, William, 31, and Lee, 18, not to bother.

    "I would have loved one of them to go fishing. Loved it. It's in the blood. But the industry's dying here. If my young lad ever mentioned going fishing to me, I'd whack him around the lughole."
    Skipper Steven Veart

    Skipper Steven Veart has told his two sons to steer clear of fishing

    A little over a metre away from where I chat to Mr Wale in the boat's small kitchen, the skipper, Mr Veart, 46, is in the wheelhouse, piloting the Defiant.

    A multicoloured flat screen GPS and satellite navigation system beeps and flashes to his left; to the right the familiar voice of Jeremy Kyle can be heard emerging from a small TV set - the picture flickering on and off as the aerial struggles to pick up a signal.

    Suddenly, the skipper is out of his seat. Shimmering down a wooden ladder to the sleeping quarters, he wakes his two workers, Mr Fabregas and Mr Blalais.

    They emerge, overalls, gloves and hats on, and we're all standing at the back of the boat. The success or otherwise of this morning's mission will be judged in the next few minutes.

    Dumping fish

    The green nets haul out a predominantly orange catch - prawns. But in amongst them are cod.

    Because of quota restrictions, the crew are legally obliged to throw these fish back out to sea - dead or alive. The crew are quite clearly genuinely angry, and not just for the benefit of the two journalists on board.

    "The amount of fish we are having to dump here is just absolutely outrageous. You've got half the world starving to death and we're chucking good food over the side," Mr Veart shouts, above the engine noise, as he throws a large, dead cod into a bucket in frustration.

    "We have to throw them back by law - it makes me cry, I feel sick," Mr Wale adds.

    "It is good fish - someone could eat it, people in the Third World, old age pensioners, anyone. But we have to throw it back and let the seagulls eat it."

    As the catch is gutted, cleaned and boxed up, the crew survey their haul. It's a bleak assessment. They won't cover their costs today.
    Buckets of prawns

    Prawns were the main haul, and any cod was returned to the sea

    The Defiant slowly turns. It's now mid-afternoon and it's already beginning to get dark. Up on the foredeck, in front of the wheelhouse, I can see the distant, flickering lights of the industrial Teesside landscape.

    The negotiations taking place in Brussels to fix the fishing quotas for 2009 present ministers and officials with an unenviable challenge: trying to balance the needs of a rapidly shrinking industry with what environmentalists fear is a rapidly shrinking stock of fish.

    There is a widespread acceptance, even within the fishing industry, that some quotas are necessary.

    And with quotas come limits to what can be caught. And with those limits comes the prospect of throwing fish back when they are exceeded.

    Setting the right quotas, for the right fish, in the right place requires an answer to just one question. How many fish are there here?

    The answer, of course, is it's impossible to tell precisely. And all those who claim to have some idea, whether they are scientists, environmentalists or fishermen, very rarely manage to agree.

    At approaching half past seven, we reach Hartlepool - and the day's catch is dropped off and sold.

    For Steven Veart, Les Wale, Freddie Fabregas and Raymond Blalais, it's a chance for a few hours sleep before they set off again at four o'clock tomorrow morning.

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