Quota ad­vice set to see West Coast prawns rise by 15%

The Oban Times - - News -

NEXT year will prove a mile­stone for the fish­ing in­dus­try with the launch of a ban on dis­cards of white fish and prawn stocks, Fish­eries Sec­re­tary Richard Lochhead said last Fri­day.

As the in­dus­try pre­pares for this land­mark change, most stocks are in good shape with grow­ing abun­dance to be found across many key North Sea species.

This year, fish land­ing val­ues have in­creased by nearly 20 per cent, with rev­enues worth more than £ 500 mil­lion, and the sci­en­tific ad­vice that will in­form quo­tas for next year is pos­i­tive across many key stocks – North Sea cod sees a rec­om­mended in­crease of 15 per cent, had­dock is set to in­crease by at least 30 per cent, monk­fish is to rise by 20 per cent , megrim is ex­pected to in­crease by 26 per cent, Rock­all had­dock is ad­vised to rise by 25 per cent, while West Coast Nephrops ( prawns) are rec­om­mended to rise by 15 per cent.

To help Scot­tish fleets adapt to the in­tro­duc­tion of the white fish and prawn dis­card ban in 2016, ex­tra quota will be al­lo­cated to re­flect the unique chal­lenges the ban will bring.

Speak­ing at the Scot­tish Fish­er­man’s Fed­er­a­tion an­nual din­ner in Ed­in­burgh, Mr Lochhead said: ‘The fish­ing in­dus­try is very im­por­tant to Scot­land’s econ­omy and con­trib­utes more than £ 500 mil­lion in rev­enues a year.

‘It sup­ports a lot of jobs in Scot­land. It’s great to hear that the fish­ing has been good over the last year, with a grow­ing abun­dance of key com­mer­cial stocks promis­ing to keep busi­nesses buoy­ant.

‘At the same time, I’m also alive to the chal­lenges in some stocks, such as North Sea Nephrops and whit­ing, and where nec­es­sary we’ll be seek­ing to mit­i­gate th­ese in the forth­com­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions.

‘In­creas­ing stocks bring con­fi­dence and in­creas­ingly I am hear­ing about thriv­ing busi­nesses, about plans to in­vest, and young skip­pers com­ing through.

‘How­ever, we know there is more to do, which is why the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to sup­port our fish­ing in­dus­try and their com­mu­ni­ties as they seek to over­come a va­ri­ety of chal­lenges.

‘The dis­card ban is fore­most among th­ese. No- one wants to see dead fish be­ing thrown back into the sea – least of all our fish­er­men.

‘This is why I’ve con­sis­tently sup­ported the ban.

‘For me it’s a no brainer if we’re to be se­ri­ous about man­ag­ing our nat­u­ral re­sources, con­serv­ing fish stocks, and play­ing a mean­ing­ful role in im­prov­ing global food se­cu­rity. That’s why we are work­ing closely with the in­dus­try to en­sure the dis­card ban is im­ple­mented ef­fec­tively and pro­por­tion­ately in Scot­land, and to help make sure fish­er­men are fully pre­pared.

‘To help fish­er­men adapt to the chal­lenges of the dis­card ban we will pro­vide ad­di­tional quota for those stocks com­ing un­der the ban next year.

‘That will mean a dou­ble boost for had­dock, for ex­am­ple, with an ad­di­tional top-up over and above the ad­vised 30 per cent in­crease, re­sult­ing in a po­ten­tial bumper in­crease of 56 per cent.

‘This quota will be al­lo­cated once the rel­e­vant in­dus­try groups have sub­mit­ted a dis­card ban man­age­ment plan out­lin­ing how they will en­cour­age fish­er­men to make pos­i­tive changes to their fish­ing prac­tises.’

Pho­to­graph: Gra­ham Hood Pho­tog­ra­phy

MILE­STONE: Fish land­ing val­ues in­creased this year by nearly 20 per cent.

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