New fishing deals agreed between the UK, European Union and Norway are expected to be worth £393 million to the Scottish fleet in 2024.
A trilateral agreement between the UK, European Union and Norway covers the total allowable catch (TAC) limits and management measures for jointly managed stocks in the North Sea.
It has delivered quota increases for all six stocks – cod, haddock, whiting, plaice, saithe and herring.
These are said to be worth an estimated £199m for Scots’ fishers, an increase of £68m compared to 2023 quotas.
I am particularly pleased that agreement has been reached to set quotas for North Sea and west of Scotland cod at levels reflective of the latest science.”
Mairi Gougeon MSP
The government said this deal reflected positive advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, an influential group of marine scientists.
The TACs were also set at levels consistent with the “maximum sustainable yield (MSY)” approach, it added
MSY is the largest catch that can be taken from a stock over an indefinite period without harming it.
Meanwhile, UK-EU bilateral negotiations to set TACs for more than 70 stocks, including the North Sea and west of Scotland, have also concluded.
These are said to be worth an estimated £194 million for Scotland.
Among the stocks covered by this agreement are North Sea and west of Scotland prawns, hake, monkfish and ling, as well as Rockall haddock and cod, and west of Scotland whiting and cod.
Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “These agreements include a number of positive outcomes for Scotland, providing key opportunities to vessels and coastal communities, and building on the successes of last year’s negotiations.
“I am particularly pleased that agreement has been reached to set quotas for North Sea and west of Scotland cod at levels reflective of the latest science.
“This is the first step in transforming the way in which we manage this iconic stock, and I look forward to the continuation of that important work in 2024.”
Ms Gougeon added: “Scotland’s approaches to the negotiations were informed by the best available evidence, taking into account scientific advice, socioeconomic factors, and the dynamics of fisheries.
“As always, close engagement with stakeholders across all sectors has been key to the success of these negotiations.”
Separate bilateral talks with Norway and Faroe over exchanges of access and quota opportunities are “ongoing”, the government said.
Quota increases agreed for Scottish fishers in 2024:
- North Sea cod 15%
- West of Scotland cod 15.04%
- North Sea haddock 73.66%
- North Sea whiting 123.65%
- North Sea saithe 25.30%
- North Sea plaice 2.63%
- North Sea herring 28.69%
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) “broadly welcomed” the deals.
“But we have to pay credit to the excellent work of… Mairi Gougeon and her team at the Marine Directorate who, along with colleagues in the UK Government, have secured a good deal for our fishermen for 2024.”
Ms Macdonald added: “These outcomes also show how wrong those organisations are who try to discredit Scotland’s fishing industry as they catastrophise about the state of our stocks.
“The quotas announced today reflect the science, which shows the majority of our key commercial fish stocks are in good health.”