In yesterday’s Fisheries Negotiations debate in Parliament Shetland MSP, Tavish Scott, pressed Minister Richard Lochhead over his Government’s implementation of the discard ban and to confirm that the Scottish Government would work closely with the fishing industry. Richard Lochhead responded that the Government intends to work with the industry, although the question as to which species would included in the discard ban will be decided over the years ahead.
The EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council will agree quota allocations later this month. During yesterday’s debate Tavish Scott also warned that quota allocations for species covered by the ban, which covers white fish and prawn stocks, must go up substantially.
During yesterday’s debate Tavish Scott said:
“Scotland’s coastal areas, the islands, the west coast and the north-east are fisheries dependent. Jobs and livelihoods depend on the sea and how Scotland implements the discard ban is the issue. Get it wrong and we won’t have a white fish industry.
“Enforcement and compliance with the discard ban, which are key responsibilities of the Minister, must be consistent and fair. He will have a full scale rebellion on his hands if local boats are targeted by fisheries cruisers while foreign trawlers steam by.
“2016-19 must be a period where the discard ban is fair, seen to be fair and fairly monitored. The December meeting matters. It sets important quota for our fleet. But it is what our government is doing on the implementation of the discard ban that is uppermost in the minds of fishermen from Shetland to Stranraer as Christmas approaches
‘‘I recognise the challenges that the minister has, particularly on the discard ban. As he observed, the December fisheries council nearly takes care
of itself this year but for the access discussions about mackerel in Copenhagen next week. However, the strongest and most difficult issue that we all have to contemplate is the discard ban and, therefore, the importance of the sustainable use of fishing opportunities to achieve economic sustainability for coastal communities and make the contribution to food security that we all require.’’