Representatives of Shetland’s fishing sector has reacted angrily to the announcement of a 50% cut in catch quotas for North Sea cod next year.
The agreement reached on Friday between the European Commission and Norwegian negotiators is expected to be formally ratified at the 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 Simon Collins of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
While the UK is expected to leave the CFP on 31st January 2020, the passage of the Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament will effectively keep the UK bound to quotas agreed at this week’s Council meeting until the end of 2020.
‘For Shetland’s fishing fleet, leaving the CFP is more urgent now than ever,‘ Simon Collins said.
‘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.’