Shetland fishing chiefs will make the case for a step-by-step approach to the new discard ban during a visit to Brussels today.
The ban on dumping fish overboard, often dead, applies to Scotland’s white-fish fleet from the start of next year.
Shetland Fishermen’s Association chairman Leslie Tait and executive officer Simon Collins will tell new European Union Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella the changes should be gradual and not rushed.
Mr Collins said: “We need to phase in the discard ban – or landing obligation – because these are extremely complicated changes.
“We simply cannot have a situation where fishermen operating on a perfectly sustainable basis are put out of business because of clumsy regulations.
“Support for a commonsense approach is growing and we’d like the fisheries commissioner to commit to workable arrangements that safeguard our industry.”
Mr Collins and Mr Tait will also seek the close involvement of Shetland in the development of the European Commission’s mixed fishery plan for the North Sea, which is due to be unveiled later this year.
“Our input here is critical because our fisheries are among the most mixed in Europe,” Mr Collins said, adding: “Our island economy – not just the fish catching sector – depends heavily on the right outcome.”
The pair will also raise the issue of Faroese access to EU waters for mackerel, which they say allows boats from that country to catch more of the species off Shetland than the islands’ own pelagic fleet.
Mr Collins said: “At the very least, Faroe should have a smaller quota in our own waters than we do.”