Part of the discussions will cover how, in the face of a very difficult set of cuts outlined in the EC first proposals, the industry can ensure that it gets a fair deal by highlighting its series of trail-blazing and pioneering initiatives to conserve stocks.
A principal aim of tomorrow’s meeting will be to agree a joint approach between fishermen and the Scottish Government to the rest of the negotiations, aimed at ensuring the continued sustainable harvesting of stocks whilst at the same time protecting the industry from the savage cuts proposed by the EC.
Items on the agenda will include the proposed closure of the vital West Coast langoustine and whitefish fisheries, the recovery of the cod stock and the permitted days at sea fishermen are allowed. Proposed cuts in herring quotas will also be discussed, along with strategy to ensure that the final fishing share allocations between the EU and Norway do not unfairly disadvantage Scottish fishermen.
Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive, said: “We have been expecting a tough starting position, but the combination of all the measures in the first proposals, particularly the blanket West Coast closure, presents us with a very black picture. At this point, the commitment to sustainable harvesting made by us in very practical terms over the last 18 months, including the targeted closures of fishing grounds and technical alterations of nets to release unwanted fish, has yet to be recognised.
“While the EC is proposing more of the same old medicine, Scottish fishermen are adopting an innovative approach to fisheries management that is delivering real results. We have achieved this alongside the Scottish Government and scientists, and we seek to take this forward together.”