Increase in fishing quotas on the cards

THE latest scientific advice suggests there should be “healthy increases” in fishing quotas, according to the Scottish Government.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas has said key stocks will have sustainable increases, but cod fisheries present a challenge.

The advice forms the basis for the European Commission’s proposals for fishing opportunities next year across EU fleets, to be decided in December.

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Fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said: “We are committed to sustainable fisheries, supporting the stock recovery that will in turn underpin the future success of the Scottish fishing industry. If the scientific advice published today is followed at the end-of-year EU Council, it will mean both opportunities and challenges for our fleet.

“This advice demonstrates that there has been a remarkable and welcome turnaround from two years ago when there were quota cuts across the board. I’m pleased that the advice points to continuing healthy increases in quota for most of our key commercial stocks, reflecting a positive picture in their sustainability and abundance.”

Advice covering whitefish and herring points to sustainable increases for eight stocks. Four out of five of the major North Sea stocks – haddock, saithe, whiting and plaice – could be increased.

West of Scotland haddock could be increased by up to 55 per cent and some North Sea stocks could rise by 15 per cent, the advice shows.

Reductions of 20 per cent or more are proposed for North Sea cod and prawns, as well as a 20 per cent reduction in monkfish catches.

Mr Lochhead said: “The overall picture promises significant economic benefits for the Scottish fleet and could see around a £10 million increase in the value of landings, if all quotas are caught.”