Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
Monday, 23 March 2009 12:01

THERE is now "huge concern" over the threat to the fleet's economic viability because of the demands of the cod recovery plan, a leading fishing industry figure said today.

Mike Park, the executive chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, said that what had come through "loud and clear" at a meeting of his association at the end of last week was the widespread alarm over the real potential for economic failure due to the increased speed of change being demanded by Brussels.

"I have never seen such frustration in the industry in the last 15 years," he said.

Last week, the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, the equivalent of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation in England and Wales, said that they had come to he "inescapable conclusion" that the scale of effort reductions demanded by the new cod recovery plan will seriously jeopardise the long-term viability of the vessels which are subject to it.

This was despite the "strenuous efforts" being made to "buy back" days through various cod avoidance measures

And today Mr Park said that the Scottish white fish and nephrops sectors were now facing economic failure due to the output of the cod recovery plan with its demand for a 25% cut in days with all that meant for fish-dependent communities, notwithstanding the measures being put into play to try to claw the reduction back.

But these measures could only achieve so much and he went on: "There is confusion and frustration as to why, at a time when stocks seem to be returning, that the speed of change has to increase. We are still signed up and committed to cod recovery, but crucially connected to viability and financial failure in the short term is not part of sustainable development.

"There is major concern about our general economic viability because of the speed of change which is being imposed upon us. This is a message which must be delivered to Commission officials when they visit Scotland at his end of this month."

They had to get back to a position where the fleet could be assured of viability not the kind of financial failure imposed on them by cod recovery strategy which threatened to ruin the very fishermen recovered stocks were meant to benefit.