There’s a positive vibe from Scottish government, which states that an additional £44 million worth of fishing opportunities will be available to the Scottish fishing industry in the wake of this year’s December Council, part of an overall £44 million package that includes the outcomes of deals with the Faroes and Norway.
It all kicks off once again today as ministers responsible for fishing in their respective countries come together in Brussels to thrash out how the cake gets to be divided, accompanied by spin-doctors, advisers, specialists and lobbyists, while the industry waits for the results.
The European Commission has announced its proposals for North Sea and Atlantic fisheries for 2018, in advance of the December Council, with a mixed bag consisting of proposals for increases to some quotas, others unchanged and some cut back.
The Faroese Ministry of Fisheries is preparing a series of quota auctions that start this week, with herring, blue whiting and mackerel quotas offered for sale to the highest bidder, as well as groundfish quotas in both Russian and Norwegian zones of the Barents Sea.
With the fishing industry in Russia going through reform and modernisation, the fleet being renewed long with port infrastructure and logistics, supply and the balance of imports and exports is set to change, according to the head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Fisheries, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ilya Shestakov.
According to the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, advice for next year's quota for cod, haddock and whiting in the North Sea is for an increase.
Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries Thorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir has set quotas for the 2017-18 quota year, and has stuck rigidly to the recommendations of the Marine Research Institute, except for erring on the side of caution by setting quotas for some species below the recommendations.
The Faroese fleet yesterday sailed en masse to dock in Tórshavn where fishermen came together to protest against the government’s plans to drop the longstanding days-at-sea system for most of the fleet, to replace it with quotas.
European fishermen’s organisation Europêche has hit out at accusations of false lobbying levelled against it by NGOs Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Seas at Risk.
The challenges facing groundfish fishermen in Iceland can’t have escaped anyone familiar with the sector, according to Örn Pálsson, director of the National Association of Small Boat Owners (NASBO), who points out that fish prices have not been as low as they are today for years.