European fishing chiefs have delivered their annual proposals for catch “opportunities” for the following year.
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) said yesterday the “real prize” in store for the industry in this country was for decades of fisheries management from Brussels to be consigned to history after Brexit.
Announcing quota proposals for 2017, excluding key North Sea species that are subject to negotiations with non-EU countries, the European Commission said it aimed to maintain or increase catch limits for 42 stocks in good health.
It aims to reduce catches for 28 stocks which are “faring poorly”.
EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella said: “We need to bring all stocks to healthy and sustainable levels as soon as possible so that our fishing industry can remain viable.
“We are proposing an ambitious programme for 2017 and the only way forward will be to work with fishermen, scientists and national authorities to develop real solutions that lead to fisheries that are both economically profitable and sustainable”.
SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “The EU Commission proposals for catching opportunity for 2017 are in accordance with the scientific advice and largely reflect the increasingly healthy state of the stocks and progress made.
“As usual some refinement will be necessary, where there are sustainable choices, before the final decisions are made in December.
“A number of key stocks are subject to negotiations yet to come with third countries, such as the very important EU/Norway talks covering shared stocks including North Sea cod and haddock.
“However the real prize, to come beyond 2017, is the sea of opportunity that Brexit will unlock, for better, fairer, more sustainable and much better-managed fishing in our waters.”