Leaving the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is ‘more urgent now than ever’, according to an isles fishing representative.
Simon Collins, head of Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA), has reacted strongly to the news that there will be a 50% cut in North Sea cod quotas next year.
The agreement between Norway and the EU follows three rounds of fisheries talks in Brussels, which will be formally ratified at a European Council meeting this week.
“This outcome illustrates exactly why every fishing industry in Europe wants to be shot of the Common Fishing Policy,” said Mr Collins.
“Together with industry representatives from all around the North Sea, including Norway, and working closely with the Scottish government, we had put together a responsible and credible package of measures on cod that would have fully met sustainability objectives as well as the legal constraints bearing on the EU.
“The EU’s decision to go instead with a simplistic read-out of a single line from a computer model is staggeringly irresponsible. Fisheries management should be a grown-up discussion around a complex ecosystem, not an infantile read-out from computer modelling that all sides know is desperately flawed.”
The UK is expected to leave the CFP on 31st January 2020.
However, the passage of the Withdrawal Agreement through parliament means the UK is expected to be bound to quotas agreed at the coming week’s Council meeting until the end of next year.
“For Shetland’s fishing fleet, leaving the CFP is more urgent now than ever,” added Mr Collins.
“Fish stocks in our waters – including cod – are heading the right way, and our coastal and island communities deserve a responsible management regime. It’s about time we got one.”
Following the announcement of the conclusion of these talks, Scottish government fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing has also labelled the outcome ‘disappointing’, adding that it would be ‘very challenging for Scottish fishing businesses’.