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  1. #51
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    https://twitter.com/sff_uk/status/412998362422444032

    SFF ‏@sff_uk

    Fish Council has concluded. Scots industry to get ministerial briefing shortly, but effort freeze has been secured.

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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...es_-_NFFO.html

    Council of Ministers still influencing fishing issues - NFFO



    THE National Federation of Fishermens Organisations has warned that the enhanced role of the European Parliament in fisheries decisions will not yet, as hoped, diminish the significance of the annual round of catch quota talks which take place in Brussels every December.

    This may happen in due course but there are no signs this year that the Council of Ministers is ready yet to take a back seat, says the NFFO. And lists some of the area where the Council will still be trying to influence.

    Cod - Despite the strong recovery of the cod stock in the North Sea, cod will again be forced centre stage as the UK and likeminded member states have to fight off effort reductions stipulated by the EU cod management plan. Like a runaway train, the ill-fated plan is careering its way to the European Court as part of a dispute over whether the Council or the European Parliament has jurisdiction over management plans. Even the Commission tacitly admits that it is nonsense to follow a discredited plan that is overdue for amendment but that is what it will do. It will again be down to the Council to limit the damage.

    Norway – In the meantime, the Council would normally just be expected to rubber stamp the agreement for a bilateral fisheries agreement with Norway which sets TACs for jointly managed stocks like cod, haddock, whiting, saithe, plaice and herring in the North Sea. However, the EU Norway negotiations have become another victim in the mackerel dispute with Iceland and Faeroes, as Norway has used the opportunity to revisit the issue of its own share. The result is that instead of Council endorsing the deal, or tying up a few loose ends, the whole EU Norway agreement is left up in the air with no date so far for resumed negotiations.

    Fishing and TACs - Despite the dramatic reduction in fishing mortality since the year 2000 recorded by ICES, across all the main fisheries in the North East Atlantic, and to which many stocks are responding positively, the Commission’s proposals are for a fair number of reductions which if fully implemented would hurt badly. There is always a question mark over the extent that the Commission ramp up the reductions in their proposal in the expectation that ministers will argue some down. But ministers bear a heavy responsibility to introduce mixed fisheries and discard reduction dimensions to the final decisions, as the science is for the most part provided on a single stock basis.
    The eye-watering 75% reduction proposed for Area VII haddock reflects a bumper haddock recruitment in 2009 rather than a stock in crisis. In the context of a mixed fishery, it is difficult to see how following this proposal this could lead to anything other than massive discarding.
    TAC proposals are also being driven down by the drive to reach MSY by 2015; by “precautionary” 20% cuts; and by use-it-or-lose it cuts.

    Only a fantasist would believe that quotas should always go up but there is no doubt that there is a significant element of self-inflicted pain in this year’s proposals that will do little for stock recovery, or progress towards discard reduction but will certainly make life more difficult for the industry. It will be ministers’ job to bring a degree of common sense and a degree of democratic control to the process. If ever there was a lesson that cutting TACs for cosmetic reasons will not deliver recovery, it can be seen in the Irish Sea and the West of Scotland where the TAC for cod has been cut year after year to the bone but with absolutely no sign that it has served any purpose.

    Single Stock advice in Mixed Fisheries - TAC decisions are always a trade-off between what it is safe to harvest next year without jeopardising the future. But given that most ICES advice is provided on a single-stock basis, under the current arrangements ministers have a particular responsibility to balance mixed fishery issues and discard reduction with continued progress towards high yield fisheries. It is important for commentators to remember this when simplistically comparing minister’s decisions with the Commission’s proposals or ICES advice.

    NFFO - An NFFO team, reflecting the different regions and fleets in our diverse membership, will as usual, attend the Council. This involves a pre-council briefing with the Minister George Eustice, and his officials, in which the industry’s priorities and the UK’s priorities are aligned as far as possible. Good communications right through the Council process are vitally important to deal with issues as they arise. Finally, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, a deal will be struck which will shape the fortunes of the industry for another year.

  3. #53
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls..._recovery.html

    Greenpeace calls on ministers to focus on fish stock recovery



    As EU fisheries ministers convene in Brussels today to discuss the 2014 fish quotas, Greenpeace is calling on them to honour their commitment to end overfishing by 2015 by limiting catches to sustainable levels. Ministers will agree the 2014 fishing quotas for stocks in the North Sea, Northeast Atlantic and Black Sea.

    The scientific advice points out that some fish stocks show early signs of recovery after the reduction of fishing pressure and the introduction of longer-term management plans. Given that such plans cover several years, they also minimise the annual horse-trading over quotas.

    Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director Saskia Richartz said: “EU governments have renewed their commitment to end overfishing by 2015 as part of the recent fisheries reform. When coupled with a shift to low-impact fishing and reductions in the destructive power of the fleet, strict catch limits can help rebuild stocks and coastal communities. It is time to leave the old demons behind; it’s time to keep fishing to sustainable levels.”

    While stocks of species like hake and North Sea plaice are showing signs of recovery, scientists have warned that overfishing is endangering a number of stocks in the Irish Sea, in waters west and northwest of Scotland, west and south of Ireland and parts of the Bay of Biscay. They recommended halting all fishing for cod and sole in the Irish Sea and for cod in waters west of Scotland. The cod population in the North Sea, on the other hand, is showing signs of recovery but fishing pressure is still higher than what is considered sustainable.

    The Council is expected to conclude its work late this evening or early Wednesday morning.

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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-n...r-day-one.html

    FOLLOWING the first day of the two-day meeting between the EU's Fisheries Ministers, Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead appeared content with the state of negotiations so far, although he also stressed that there was a long way to go.

    Speaking from Brussels, he said: "It has been a day of constructive discussion including meeting with the Commission and Presidency and outlining our key objective in securing a freeze in effort.

    "We continue to work with a number of member states to forge a common understanding and shared working.

    "I expect to see a first draft of the Presidency compromise text in the morning which will outline a position, but we have a long way to go to reach a final agreement.

    "It has been encouraging that all parties are engaging again on mackerel to get a deal done, though we are not there yet. We remain keen to get a deal done but we are firm that this will not be at any price and Scotland's interest will be at the heart of it."

  5. #55
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/component/...alisation.html

    THE EU's Baltic Member States have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) underlining their commitment to the CFP's new emphasis on regionalisation.

    Coming only a week after the signing of the new CFP regulation by the co-legislators, the Baltic Member States have already demonstrated their commitment to implementing some of the new provisions adopted. The MoU also continues the long tradition of cooperation in fisheries amongst the Baltic Member States have a long tradition of cooperation in fisheries and helps to ensure that the CFP's objectives can be delivered in a way that is best adapted to the specific ambitions and challenges of Baltic fishermen and Baltic fisheries.

    European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "The Baltic countries have long made an important contribution to the effective implementation of the CFP and I am glad that with this MoU they have signalled their intent to continue their cooperation, their work with stakeholders and the Advisory Councils, and to ensure that the CFP is effectively and appropriately implemented in the Baltic Sea"

    In the Baltic Sea good progress has already been made towards the key objective of a sustainable exploitation of stocks, in line with Maximum Sustainable Yield. Several Baltic stocks, such as herring in the Gulf of Riga and in the Sea of Bothnia and herring in the central Baltic, or cod in the eastern part of the Baltic, are already at MSY levels. Others, such as western herring, are on track to reach MSY by 2015. The landing obligation is a key new milestone under the reformed CFP. Here too the BALTFISH countries are working hard. Discussions are well underway on a discards plan for Baltic stocks, and the priority now is to complete the task with a final decision needed early next year in order to meet the 1 January 2015 deadline for the entry into force of the landing obligation.

  6. #56
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-25423703

    Scottish fishermen 'relieved' after no cuts to days at sea agreed

    Scottish fishermen's leaders have said they are relieved at a deal struck in Brussels to set next year's catch limits.

    There will be no reduction in the number of days boats may go to sea.

    Cuts to quotas of monkfish will not be as deep as planned, and proposed reductions in west coast whiting have been abandoned.

    Fishermen will also get help towards a ban on discarding fish.

    Quotas for other key stocks will be set next year.

    Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead said the talks had secured important flexibility for the industry's future.

    He added: "This means our fishing fleet can achieve a better balance between having quota to catch and enough days at sea to catch it.

    "This is the second year in a row without days at sea cuts but it is a great pity that that we arrived at these talks with this cloud of uncertainty still hanging over the fleet.

    "As for the 2014 quotas, there was the usual mixed bag with some quotas increased and others reduced in line with long term management plans and scientific advice."
    'Common sense'

    He added: "We can now start to look ahead to 2014 to the implementation of the long overdue reformed of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which has done so much damage to the Scottish fishing industry."

    Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said: "Freezing the effort at its current level was entirely the common sense approach to take."

    "Many of the cuts tabled were larger than would normally be the case because of the EC's move towards the principle of 'Maximum Sustainable Yield', and there is no doubt that the final reductions agreed today for some species will undoubtedly cause further difficulties for our fishing fleet.

    "However, we do welcome the commitment given by the commission to support pilot fishing trials in the lead-up to the forthcoming discards ban, which will enable the fleet to innovate and develop workable future fishery management plans."

  7. #57
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    http://www.sff.co.uk/node/891

    Threat of days at sea cut for Scottish fishermen averted

    17th December 2013

    The threat of a further cut in the number of days that Scottish fishing vessels can put to sea has been averted.

    This was one of the key outcomes from the EC Fish Council that concluded in Brussels this evening (17 December). With key fish stocks such as North Sea cod now increasing in size, Scots fishermen were pressing for a freeze in fishing effort, given that any further reduction in fishing days would have placed an unbearable economic burden on the fleet for absolutely no conservation gain.

    Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said: “We are relieved that there will be no further cuts in fishing days as it would have brought real economic hardship to the fleet at a time when fish stocks are recovering. Freezing the effort at its current level was entirely the commonsense approach to take.”

    Quota allocations for many fish stocks of crucial importance to the Scottish fleet were also decided at the Fish Council. There were increases for Northern hake and megrim, but reductions for West of Scotland haddock, and West of Scotland and North Sea monkfish, as well as North Sea and West coast prawns (Nephrops or langoustines). The quota for West of Scotland whiting remains unchanged.

    Mr Armstrong said: “Many of the cuts tabled were larger than would normally be the case because of the EC’s move towards the principle of ‘Maximum Sustainable Yield’, and there is no doubt that the final reductions agreed today for some species will undoubtedly cause further difficulties for our fishing fleet. However, we do welcome the commitment given by the Commission to support pilot fishing trials in the lead-up to the forthcoming discards ban, which will enable the fleet to innovate and develop workable future fishery management plans.”

    “Despite the background of recovering fish stocks, the coming year will see a number of significant challenges for the Scottish fleet, most notably in preparing for the impending introduction of this discards ban,” said Mr Armstrong.

    Quotas for several other key stocks that are shared with Norway in the North Sea such as 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 North East Atlantic mackerel share allocations with Iceland and the Faroes. There were background discussions at the Fish Council on trying to progress a way to resolve the mackerel shares issue, although actual negotiations between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes will not commence again until after the New Year.

  8. #58
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    http://www.fishnewseu.com/scottish-n...els-deals.html

    RICHARD Lochhead has announced a number of successes following today's crucial end of year fisheries negotiations in Brussels, including the achievement of his main goal – the retention of the current days at sea allocation for Scottish fishermen.

    Earlier this week the Scottish Fisheries Secretary, Richard Lochhead outlined this issue as his main priority.

    On the west coast of Scotland there was a clear commitment from the Commission to support very important trials preparing for the landing obligation for some key west coast stocks, including cod.

    Quotas for Scotland's most valuable North Sea stocks –including cod, haddock, herring and whiting – won't be confirmed until EU Norway talks conclude at the end of January. In preparation for these talks it was explained to the Commission why Scotland will be seeking an increase in North Sea cod quota and the Commission introduced a statement acknowledging that objective.

    The talks also secured some important flexibilities between the North Sea and the West of Scotland for monkfish, allowing vessels to catch 10 per cent of their North Sea quota in the West of Scotland where the stocks are healthier. This is a doubling of the current arrangements. There was also success in reducing the proposed 20 per cent cut in Total Allowable Catch (TAC) to 10 per cent.

    Immediately after the talks concluded, Lochhead said: "Securing current level of days at sea is a relief for Scotland's fishing industry and will offer stability in 2014. This means our fishing fleet can achieve a better balance between having quota to catch and enough days at sea to catch it. This is the second year in a row without days at sea cuts but it is a great pity that that we arrived at these talks with this cloud of uncertainty still hanging over the fleet.

    "As for the 2014 quotas, there was the usual mixed bag, with some quotas increased and others reduced in line with long term management plans and scientific advice.

    "We can now start to look ahead to 2014 to the implementation of the long overdue reformed of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which has done so much damage to the Scottish fishing industry and we can hopefully look forward to decisions affecting our industry will be brought closer to home.

    "It was important to ensure the Commission were clear on our rational on seeking an increase in quota for North Sea cod in the forthcoming important EU/Norway talks.

    "We also needed the monkfish flexibility to increase our catch in the West of Scotland and to protect the stock in the North Sea. We negotiated hard on this issue with a strong scientific case which will enable the Scottish fleet to be able to fish the stock in a more dynamic way. This is just the beginning of the process and we will continue to pursue the flexibility issue further in the years to come. This will be an important feature in allowing our fishing businesses to operate with less restriction as they begin the transition towards a discard ban."

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    http://www.thejournal.ie/fish-quotas...28216-Dec2013/

    Increase in overall tonnage secured at fish quota talks
    There’s to be an increase of two per cent next year in terms of value, but reductions for certain stocks will also be brought in.

    MARINE MINISTER SIMON Coveney has announced a 15 per cent increase in the tonnage of Ireland’s fishing quota to 270,000 tonnes for next year, following two days of talks in Brussels.

    Increases have been secured in specific stocks, but the package also includes decreased quotas for certain species. The total value is €260 million — representing a 2 per cent increase on the 2013 value.

    Coveney said the result was a “good outcome” given the cuts that had been proposed heading into the talks. Seán O’Donoghue of the Killybegs Fishermens Organisation, who was also in Brussels for the discussions, told TheJournal.ie that the outcome was a “mixed bag”.

    The deal agreed includes a 49 per cent increase in the hake quota, a 13 per cent increase in mackeral and a 55 per cent rise in the the blue whiting quota for the North West. The decreases include a 33 per cent haddock reduction in the Celtic Sea, and a provisional reduction of 22 per cent for whiting in the same area — with the latter figure to be reviewed following more talks in the New Year.

    “Negotiations this year were extremely difficult in Council but important increases have been secured in specific stocks,” Coveney said.

    “While some of the quotas for whitefish stocks were reduced in the Celtic Sea, this reflected the scientific advice of poor recruitment into the stocks of cod, haddock and whiting; cuts were required to take account of the scientific advice.

    “For other whitefish stocks such as the economically important hake and monkfish, significantly increased quotas were secured reflecting the positive scientific advice for these stocks. We have also secured increased quotas for herring mackerel, boarfish and blue whiting.”

    The Minister said that he has also successfully reversed the proposed 20 per cent cuts to pollock and megrim quotas in the South West.

    Coveney had warned in advance of the talks that the negotiations would be “exceptionally tough”.

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