Eustice says UK in ‘final stages’ of fishing quota negotiations
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The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is recommending a reduction in the total allowable catch (TAC) for North Sea cod of 10.3 percent. The Council provides unbiased scientific advice to governments including the UK on how to manage fishing stocks effectively.
But the Shetland Fishing Association (SFA) are urging government ministers to think twice about cutting cod quotas, citing figures which estimate there are 285 million cod in the North Sea.
The IECS recommendation, fishing chiefs claim, is causing British fishermen to lose out on fishing for key species including cod.
Simon Collins, executive officer of the Association, said: “There are many more North Sea cod than there are rats and mice in the UK, and almost four times more than the most common land mammal, the field vole.
“And yet green NGOs constantly go around describing cod as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ or at risk of ‘extinction’.
“They should be ashamed of themselves for peddling such nonsense.”
The SFA along with the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association (SWFPA) who branded the ICES methodology as “flawed science” have asked both the Scottish and UK governments to create an independent panel to assess the ICES numbers and put them into proper perspective.
Mr Collins continued: “Our governments need to ask themselves whether they are willing to create insoluble problems for our fishing fleet just because an ICES computer says so.
“It has often been wrong in the past, and in terms of cod it is catastrophically wrong now.”
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A recent example highlighted by Scottish fishing chiefs was with Northeast Atlantic mackerel which saw stocks increase from 857,000 tonnes in 2017, then down to 318,000 tonnes in 2018 and then back up to 922,000 tonnes in 2019.
It comes as figures released by the Scottish Government today revealed there was a decrease of 21 per cent in the real value of landings for Scottish fishermen.
This is despite a two per cent increase in the total tonnage landed.
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The UK Government said they were “committed” to supporting the UK fishing fleet and “levelling up the industry and coastal communities across the UK.”
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