A new quota deal struck with European Union fisheries ministers has been described as “a positive outcome” for Scotland’s fishermen.
The EU Fisheries Council agreed to quota increases for many key fish stocks for the fleet including North Sea cod, monkfish and mackerel.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “Overall, this is a positive outcome for Scotland which underlines the sustainable fishing practices adopted by our fleet. The agreement will bring welcome economic stability to Scottish fishing communities over the coming year.
“With Brexit now looming, fishermen can look to the future with real optimism as we are on the cusp of an exciting new era as a coastal state with full control of our 200-mile exclusive economic zone. This will give us the opportunity for fairer shares in catching opportunity and better fit-for-purpose sustainable fisheries management, which will benefit our coastal communities.”
The deal was also welcomed by the Scottish and UK Governments with Fergus Ewing, Scottish fisheries secretary, saying that the deal will be worth £47 million to the industry.
Mr Ewing said: “The fishing industry is a vital part of our rural economy which is why it’s good news that we’ve secured crucial increases for the majority of our key species. To achieve improved deals for 16 out of 23 of our key stocks is a very satisfactory outcome and one that’s been strongly welcomed by the senior industry representatives in Brussels.
“I’m delighted that our long-standing calls to give vessels greater flexibility around where they can fish have been answered and from 2017 our fleet will be able to make use of this new provision.
“I’m pleased that issues around Brexit did not compromise our negotiating position. We worked constructively to put people’s livelihoods first, and founding on the scientific advice, helped secure a good deal that can be well received by Scottish fishermen.”
UK Fisheries Minister George Eustace agreed that quotas had been increased due to a sustainable approach.
He added: “This year we were able to agree further increases in quotas on some valuable species as stocks have recovered, especially in the North Sea.
“As we prepare to leave the European Union we have an opportunity to build on progress made and improve the management of fish stocks, but we will continue to follow the principles of fishing sustainably and ending the wasteful practice of discarding fish.”