The Scottish government will provide support to Estonia when the eastern European state hosts this year’s EU fisheries negotiations.
It will be the first time Estonia has hosted the talks after it takes the presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2017.
That means it will be responsible for defining the council’s positions while taking into account the interests of all member states and remaining neutral.
A Scottish government official will be in place to provide expertise to the Estonian presidency including support around planning the December Fisheries Council – the culmination of all the end of year negotiations on the industry’s fish quotas for the year ahead.
The presidency of the council rotates among the EU member states every six months. Estonia’s Presidency was moved forward after the UK dropped out of the presidency cycle following the EU referendum vote.
Scottish rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “I’m delighted that the Scottish government can use some of its expertise from years of fisheries negotiations to help Estonia host the 2017 December fisheries Council.
“While we may have less than 10 per cent of the UK population Scotland landed 78 per cent of the total UK catch of key stocks in 2015 and we are undoubtedly a key player in Europe’s fishing industry. This is an opportunity to impart some of our knowledge and experience on the breadth and depth of fisheries concerns.
“I look forward to working with Estonia later in the year and building on the strong successes at the 2016 negotiations, which secured increases for the majority of our key species and additional fishing opportunities worth around £47 million.”
The Scottish government is in the process of identifying a suitable candidate to provide expertise to Estonia.