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  1. #41
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-n...p-forward.html

    SCOTLAND's Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead has endorsed, albeit somewhat half-heartedly, today's vote on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in the EU parliament.

    Reflecting on the history of the CFP, he said: "The one size fits all approach of the wholly discredited CFP has inflicted economic and social damage to Scotland for many decades and therefore this reform could not happen soon enough.

    "This follows more than three years of difficult negotiations, in which we worked to ensure that Scotland's voice was heard at the top table in Brussels during the process and helped shape the final agreement. The end of discarding is an important step and further regionalisation will ensure important decisions are taking closer to home.

    "It's far from perfect and many challenges remain but this political agreement is of fundamental importance to Scotland's fishermen and is a step forward."

  2. #42
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    http://www.sff.co.uk/node/890

    Scottish fishermen warn of dire consequence of days at sea cut

    13th December 2013


    With crucial EC Fish Council talks getting underway next week (16 and 17 December) to decide upon catching opportunity for 2014, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) is warning that every effort must be focused on ensuring that the fishing fleet is not hit by further cuts in the number of days that vessels can put to sea next year.

    Against a background of recovering stocks and a days’ allocation for fishing that has been pared to the bone and jeopardising the economic viability of the fleet, the SFF says it is imperative that there are no further cuts in effort.

    Additional annual reductions in days are an integral part of the widely discredited Cod Recovery Plan, and although they were fended-off successfully last year because of ongoing stock recovery and fleet economic hardship, the SFF is warning that the mechanism is still in place for the imposition of further cuts in effort.

    “It is essential that the Scottish and UK negotiating teams fight hard to ensure that the spectre of these cuts do not materialise,” says Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF. “Stocks are recovering in spite of the dysfunctional Cod Plan, and if there are any further cuts in days, then there quite simply won’t be a fleet left to sustainably harvest this increased abundance of fish.”

    As far as quotas are concerned, this year’s Fish Council will only be able to make firm decisions on those stocks exclusively belonging to the EU – such as many found off the West coast of Scotland. Key shared stocks with Norway in the North Sea – for example cod, haddock, whiting and mackerel – will not be decided upon until after the New Year due to the failure so far to reach agreement on mackerel shares with Iceland and the Faroes.

    Headline figures up for agreement at the Fish Council include a proposed increase in Northern hake and megrim, given the good stock levels of these species. However, cuts are being proposed for West of Scotland haddock and whiting, and West of Scotland and North Sea monkfish. Cuts are also being proposed for North Sea and West coast prawns (Nephrops or langoustines).

    Bertie Armstrong said: “The Common Fisheries Policy reform element of these negotiations is driven by the move towards the principle of ‘Maximum Sustainable Yield’ and the impending discards ban that is just around the corner. This translates into above average reductions in fishing opportunity and it will be essential that the management measures imposed to meet these aims are not self-defeating in that they end up actually increasing discard levels in our mixed fisheries.”

  3. #43
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-n...-decision.html

    PRIOR to next week's crucial EC Fish Council talks, which will determine catching opportunities for 2014, the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) has voiced its determination to ensure that there are no further cuts in days at sea.

    Against a background of recovering stocks and a days' allocation for fishing that has been pared to the bone and jeopardising the economic viability of the fleet, the SFF says it is imperative that there are no further cuts in effort.

    Additional annual reductions in days are an integral part of the widely discredited Cod Recovery Plan, and although they were fended-off successfully last year because of ongoing stock recovery and fleet economic hardship, the SFF is warning that the mechanism is still in place for the imposition of further cuts in effort.

    "It is essential that the Scottish and UK negotiating teams fight hard to ensure that the spectre of these cuts do not materialise," says Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF. "Stocks are recovering in spite of the dysfunctional Cod Plan, and if there are any further cuts in days, then there quite simply won't be a fleet left to sustainably harvest this increased abundance of fish."

    As far as quotas are concerned, this year's Fish Council will only be able to make firm decisions on those stocks exclusively belonging to the EU such as many found off the West coast of Scotland. Key shared stocks with Norway in the North Sea for example cod, haddock, whiting and mackerel will not be decided upon until after the New Year due to the failure so far to reach agreement on mackerel shares with Iceland and the Faroes.

    Headline figures up for agreement at the Fish Council include a proposed increase in Northern hake and megrim, given the good stock levels of these species. However, cuts are being proposed for West of Scotland haddock and whiting, and West of Scotland and North Sea monkfish. Cuts are also being proposed for North Sea and West coast prawns (Nephrops or langoustines).

    Armstrong added: "The Common Fisheries Policy reform element of these negotiations is driven by the move towards the principle of 'Maximum Sustainable Yield' and the impending discards ban that is just around the corner. This translates into above average reductions in fishing opportunity and it will be essential that the management measures imposed to meet these aims are not self-defeating in that they end up actually increasing discard levels in our mixed fisheries."

  4. #44
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-n...e-stihler.html

    SWFPA Chief Executive Mike Park said today that the response from his members that fish deep waters had been very positive regarding the stance taken by Catherine Stihler MEP to vote in favour of a ban to bottom trawling below 600 meters. They now view it as the role and responsibility of the Association to convince her that bottom trawling is not as destructive as she imagines. One of our skippers has even invited her on his Christmas trip. It will be interesting to see if she accepts the offer.


    In a very frank and open email Allan Addison explains why her opinion of, and stance on, the deep-sea issue was flawed.

    Dear Catherine Stihler,

    Having been informed of your voting in favour of a Deep Sea Trawling ban earlier in the week I feel compelled to contact yourself in the hope of a better understanding of the logic/theory behind your chosen voting direction?

    Being the active skipper of Venture II BF326 operating from Kinlochbervie with a crew of 12 men, fishing the areas/depths for species in the proposed ban. I was genuinely amazed at the misinformation contained within your press release on this subject.

    For your information, and perhaps validation of my own credentials, I've skippered fishing vessels working in the deep water since 1993 and am probably the skipper left in the Scottish fleet with the longest/most knowledege on the subject of Deep Water Trawling. I recently attended seminars on the proposed deep water ban and have just completed a 14 day trip onboard Marine Scotland's Scotia as an observer/advisor during the annual Deep Sea Survey trip .

    Being that you have been on the Peche Committee for some years it would have been surmised that you would have had a basic and up to date knowledege of this fishery (or known someone to ask for advice). Granted initially science suggested that deep sea species were slower growing and hence it was suggested, rightly so, that stocks of deep sea species required extra protection from over exploitation. This theory was loosely based on the maturing cycles/times of deep sea sharks and orange roughy.

    In recent years due to survey work by Scotia and oberservers on commercial trawlers it is now widely the opinion that the main commercial species of blue ling, black scabbard and grenadier are much faster growing and hence have better reproduction rates than first thought.

    Due to the restrictions of quotas on these species in the early 2000s and the resulting demise of the Scottish deep water fleet (many of which were purpose built for the fishery) science along with catch data are now showing that the majority of the main commercial species are at, or near, MSY, which is a good news story surely? With no chance of effort ever increasing on these grounds the presumption can be made that in future years the stocks will continue to recover and be available for sustainable harvesting.

    I'm sure that you are not ignorant to the fact that the Scottish fleet have done their share and more in the quest for conservation and sustainability. We already have areas closed off to protect coral at Rockall and the Darwin Mounds along with the seasonal Blue Ling Protection Zone, operating with 120mm+ nets reducing discards to almost nil the majority of the time in deep water trawling. These areas/species are fished in a seasonal manner for 4 months of the year from Jan-April (weather permitting!), leaving the stocks 8 months free from fishing activity. Does this sound like an irresponsible fishery to you?

    In your press release you mention the vessels of Kinlochbervie converting to Long Lines? Have you done your homework? Long Lines are more susceptible to catching deep sea sharks (which is banned) than trawling, along with a greater potential to catch unwanted seabirds. It has also been proven that Long Lines destroy coral.

    Maybe in Fife, economies are in a healthier state than their West Coast compatriates? Any further restrictions to fishing activity on the West Coast will have an adverse affect on the communities. Do you honestly believe in the present climate vessel operators can afford to convert their vessels from one method of fishing to another?

    I will finish by inviting you onboard Venture for my next trip (sailing 27th Dec) to witness first hand these "destructive practices" you talk of? (Parliament will be closed for Christmas so no excuses there, and we've had female scientists onboard before.)

  5. #45
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    http://www.ices.dk/news-and-events/n...st-decade.aspx

    Press release - Exploitation of fish stocks has declined significantly during the last decade

    ICES scientists have concluded that exploitation of fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic has declined significantly during the last decade.

    Many fish stocks – such as cod around Iceland, in the Baltic Sea and the Barents Sea, plaice in the North Sea, herring in the Norwegian Sea, the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and sprat in the Baltic Sea – have been harvested sustainably according to the targets set by policy-makers, and fish populations have started to improve.

    "Reduction in exploitation towards the long-term targets is the first step in rebuilding sustainable and stable fish populations and achieving a healthy ecosystem status", explained ICES Head of Advisory Services Poul Degnbol.

    Improvements have not been the same for all species and regions. For instance, exploitation of cod and haddock in the Faroe Islands region has remained high over the past several decades compared to a marked decrease in fishing pressure for the same species in other regions. Additionally, several populations, such as cod in the Irish Sea, the Kattegat and west of Scotland, remain low, with ICES advising that there should be no directed fisheries and minimal bycatch for these species. In contrast, populations such as Northeast Arctic cod and the widely distributed blue whiting continue to increase.

    The significant reductions in fishing pressure and the accompanying stock improvements are likely the result of several factors including reductions in Total Allowable Catches (TACs), changing market conditions, and increases in fuel prices.

    The conclusions are a result of the annual meeting of the ICES Advisory Committee (ACOM), held last week in Copenhagen, Denmark, where scientists examined historical trends in exploitation of 85 major fish stocks across the Northeast Atlantic. ACOM is the body in ICES providing scientific advice to support the management of marine resources and ecosystems.

  6. #46
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-25399048

    Scottish fishing industry warning over days at sea

    A further cut in the number of days Scottish boats spend at sea will not be acceptable, industry leaders have warned.

    It came as fish quota talks got under way in Brussels.

    Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead and his UK counterpart George Eustice will take part in the negotiations.

    The Scottish government said securing a freeze in the days at sea allowance was its priority.

    However it will be the new year before most of the quotas for the Scottish fleet are fixed, because of ongoing talks between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes.

    Mr Lochhead said: "This week's Fisheries Council in Brussels is absolutely crucial in determining the health of Scotland's fishing industry next year.

    "In 2012 Scottish landings were worth 466m, demonstrating the value of the industry to Scotland and to our coastal fishing communities in particular.

    "I will again demand a freeze in the days at sea that are allocated to Scotland."

    Bertie Armstrong, of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF), said it was vital that days at sea were not be reduced.

    SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: "The big thing that will be decided we think is if we have an effort reduction.

    "The plea we have given to our ministers is you cannot come back with a reduction in days at sea."

  7. #47
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/component/...-showdown.html

    THE next Fisheries Council meeting will take place in Brussels on 17 December, when Commissioner Damanaki will present the Commission's proposals for fixing fishing opportunities for 2014 for the Atlantic, the North Sea and the Black Sea.

    Ministers will discuss these proposals with a view to reaching political agreement so that the limits can enter into force on 1 January 2014.

    Ministers will seek to reach political agreement on the fishing opportunities for 2014 for certain fish stocks in the Atlantic and North Sea, as well as in international waters (IP/13/1005). The Commission proposal sets levels of total allowable catch (TAC) and fishing effort (where applicable) both for stocks managed exclusively by the EU, and for stocks managed with third countries such as Norway or through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations across the world's oceans. Where negotiations are still ongoing, as with Norway, provisional TACs have been proposed.

    For the stocks not shared with third countries, the Commission proposes to increase or maintain the TACs for 36 stocks, and reduce them for 36 stocks, in line with the scientific advice. For stocks where data is not good enough to properly estimate their size, the Commission proposal reflects the advice from ICES to adapt the TAC up or down by a maximum of 20% in accordance with the trends observed in the stocks.

    The Commission's ultimate goal, and one of the pillars of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), is to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels, the so-called Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). Whenever possible, the scientists advise how to bring the stocks to MSY levels. This year, the so-called "MSY advice" could be issued for 22 EU stocks.

    In negotiations with its international partners, the Commission has done its utmost to reach agreements that are sustainable and respect scientific advice. International negotiations for many of the stocks concerned are still ongoing. The proposal therefore includes provisional figures for about half of the TACs at this stage. It will be completed once negotiations with third parties and organisations have taken place.

    Political agreement will be sought on a Commission proposal for a Council Regulation fixing the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks in the Black Sea for 2014. The Commission proposes to cut the EU quota for turbot by 15%, to 74 tonnes and to keep the EU quota for sprat unchanged at 11,475 tonnes. Consistent with the EU's principles of following the best available scientific advice, the proposal takes into consideration the advice by the Commission's Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF).

  8. #48
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/component/...-discards.html

    AHEAD of the December Fisheries Council, the European Association of Fish Producers Organisations (EAPO) has warned Fisheries Ministers that they are in danger of increasing discards.

    The warning is part of the EAPO's position paper, with general observations and relevant recommendations for about 25 stocks, which was sent to the Council Members today.

    Sean O'Donoghue, President of the EAPO, said in advance of the Council: "I do not agree with a number of unjustifiable reductions in the Commission's proposals for fishing opportunities for key stocks in 2014, and I am calling on Council of Fisheries Ministers meeting today and tomorrow to find a workable and realistic solution to avoid the potentially devastating impacts, both biological and economic, such cuts will have on the European Fishing Industry.

    "If these reductions are adopted it is inevitable that the outcome for a number of important fisheries in 2014 will be a large increase in regulatory discards. This is totally opposite to the newly adopted CFP which has a requirement to eradicate discards starting 2015.

    "The Council will also discuss the mackerel issue and I am very concerned that the Commission is prepared to give away totally unacceptable shares to both Iceland and Faroes which is rewarding their reckless and irresponsible behaviour over the last number of years. I am calling on the Council to reject this offer and to instead support the realistic Norwegian proposal issued on Friday."

    In the position paper sent to the ministers EAPO highlights a number of key concerns, based on the Commission's TACs and Quotas Proposals: (1) the need for stability, (2) the unjustified advice to reduce the TACs of data limited stocks, (3) the TAC-setting for stocks with differential quota uptake levels and (4) the (effort) measures based on management plans that are not adapted to the actual circumstances.

  9. #49
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-n...-brussels.html

    SCOTTISH Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead will be in Brussels this week in a bid to ensure that there is no reduction in the amount of days at sea offered to Scottish fishermen.

    Speaking before leaving for Brussels Mr Lochhead said: "Scottish vessels account for 87 per cent of the UK's total landings values across the key stocks, so it's important our views are represented this week. This week's Fisheries Council in Brussels is absolutely crucial in determining the health of Scotland's fishing industry next year. In 2012 Scottish landings were worth 466 million pounds, demonstrating the value of the industry to Scotland and to our coastal fishing communities in particular.

    "This week we will be guided, as ever, by three fundamental principles; first, our approach will be guided by the science on stocks and sustainability; secondly, we will protect the social and economic wellbeing of our industry and the communities who depend on it; and, thirdly, we will act in line with our commitment to achieve discard-free fisheries.

    "I will again demand a freeze in the days at sea that are allocated to Scotland. I will make clear to the European Commission that more automatic cuts are unacceptable - otherwise our fleet simply will not have enough time at sea to catch its quotas.

    "Scottish fleets are undertaking significantly improved cod avoidance activities which are having a positive effect on stocks. Now would be the worst possible moment to undermine that success by penalising fishermen with reduced time at sea. At last year's Council we worked hard to garner support for an effort freeze in all sea areas among all the interested Member States. We agreed then, in spite of fierce resistance from the European Commission, that further reductions were not necessary after the four successive cuts previously imposed under the cod plan. Nothing has changed to alter that position and I will be insisting again this year that the UK takes a leading role in fighting for the continuation of the freeze at this year's Council.

    "Mackerel has been added to the agenda this year and I am hopeful that this might create an opportunity to make progress on this long running issue. I have always wanted to see a deal in place to protect the future of what is our most valuable stock but I have been clear that this cannot be done at any cost. Scotland's interests must be at the heart of any deal given that our fishermen, who have sustainably fished the stock for years now, are the EU's largest mackerel quota holders."

  10. #50
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    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...g-9006389.html

    Defiant Fisheries minister calls for increase in cod fishing

    George Eustice argues that reducing quotas will result in more fish being discarded – at least until 2016, when a discard ban begins to be applied

    The Fisheries minister, George Eustice, is today preparing to defy scientists by demanding higher cod quotas – in the latest instance of the Government going against expert environmental advice.



    Academics have recommended cuts of up to 33 per cent in cod catches in UK waters – in line with a recovery plan put in place in 2008 – but the reductions are contested by fishermen and ministers.

    Cod numbers have been rising for several years in succession, albeit from a historically low level, and fishing communities are arguing for quotas to be increased.

    But scientists from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices), which advises European governments on fish stocks, maintain that to allow quotas to rise in 2014 would damage the long-term recovery of cod.

    As part of the management plan to help the fish to recover after being heavily overfished, scientists have called for an overall cut in catches around the UK of 15 per cent in 2014.

    In the North Sea they want cod catches reduced by 9 per cent, while in the Celtic Sea they want them slashed by 33 per cent. In the West of Scotland and the Irish Sea, quotas have already been reduced to zero, and scientists are opposed to any increase.

    Mr Eustice, however, will call for an increase in the total allowable catch (TAC) when he sits down with other European ministers at the two-day Fisheries Council meeting starting today. He is expected to have the support of other cod-fishing nations, including Norway and Ireland, which have already questioned the advice.

    Ministerial opposition to the recommended cut is likely to postpone a decision until early next year, when talks can be held alongside negotiations on how to end the “mackerel war” between the EU and Iceland.

    Mr Eustice argues that reducing cod quotas will result in more being discarded – at least until 2016, when a discard ban begins to be applied. The species is taken from mixed fisheries around the UK and so cannot always be caught separately to other commercial stocks, such as whiting.

    Haddock and langoustine are among the other species that scientists believe should see large cuts in the catch but which Mr Eustice is likely to challenge. But he recognises that “cod is a big one, in the North Sea in particular”.

    He said: “The stock is higher than the TAC has recognised. There’s no point in reducing the quota if it’s going to lead to more discards. We don’t think there should be a cut. We don’t think there should be a cut in the TAC either. There’s probably a case for a modest increase and some scientific evidence for increasing the TAC on cod.

    “Ultimately, a lower TAC goes against what we are trying to achieve. I think it needs more flexibility in the system. Otherwise we are in the hopeless position of throwing dead fish back into the sea.”

    Coalition ministers have previously been criticised for ignoring scientific evidence on policies, including the badger cull.

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