A new study is to be carried out to look at the impact of the recession on the fishing industry in Scotland.
The investigation will address issues such as quota levels, fuel and fish prices and the new days at sea regime which has restricted many fishermen.
Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead is in Luxembourg on Monday at the latest round of the fisheries and agriculture talks.
He has written to fisheries commissioner Joe Borg requesting a meeting to discuss the economic study and similar work being carried out at a European level.
Mr Lochhead said: “The tough restrictions imposed on the fleet this year by the EU, combined with the global economic situation, are undoubtedly making life challenging for some of our fishermen. As part of the Scottish Government’s updated economic recovery programme, we continue to do everything in our power to support our fishing industry during these difficult times.
“Our new economic impact assessment will provide a detailed picture of the issues and allow us to work with the industry and Europe to map out a profitable future for our fishermen.
“When I met Commissioner Borg at the European Seafood Exposition in April, I urged him to commission an economic study at a European level. I am pleased to see that this has come to fruition and we are now seeking a meeting over the summer to discuss the complementary work we are doing.”
The study has been welcomed by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation. Chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “This is very much one of the missing elements of the restrictive new regulations applied for 2009, which were introduced without any thought or proper economic analysis given to the actual impact they would have on the fishing industry.
“We therefore welcome this new economic impact study. There can always be a choice in the severity and speed of introduction of new control measures, and this is why a socio-economic analysis of the effects are essential. Otherwise, there is a real danger that instead of treating the patient, the medicine administered will end up killing it.”
However, isles MSP Tavish Scott said what was required from the government was action, not “another study”. “The financial pressure the fishing industry faces is obvious. So why does Richard Lochhead need yet another study? I and MSPs of all parties have demonstrated to the Scottish government that their decision to back the hopeless days at sea regime in 2009 is having a massive impact on the whitefish fleet.”