Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has welcomed news that the UK government has successfully blocked automatic cuts in cod quota and days at sea allowances during annual fisheries talks in Brussels.
Under the terms of the Cod Recovery Plan, fishermen from the Isles faced sizeable cuts in the number of days they were able to fish and the total amount of cod they were allowed to land. After discussion of the issue at the annual end of year EU fisheries talks, the planned automatic cuts were scrapped. Member states agreed that the best available science should be used to set limits for quota and fishing effort.
Following the announcement, UK fisheries Minister Richard Benyon MP confirmed that the UK would continue to work to reform the Common Fisheries Policy. Mr Benyon visited Shetland last month and met with local fishermen ahead of the end of year talks.
Commenting, Mr Carmichael said: ‘This is welcome news. Fishermen in the Isles have argued for years that arbitrary cuts in quota and effort made no sense whatsoever. Whether you are looking at the environmental impact of these cuts or the economic consequences on our local fleet, the automatic reductions that had been proposed under the Cod Recovery Plan made no sense.
‘It is essential that decisions on quota and effort are based on the best available scientific evidence, not the detail of a plan that was not really fit for purpose when it was introduced and has not aged well.
‘This was one of the issues that was raised with the UK fisheries Minister when he visited Shetland recently. It would seem that he took the points that local fisherman made to heart. There is much work that remains to be done but this is a positive development.’
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