The first round of talks between the EU and Norway to set catching opportunities for shared fish stocks for 2016 get underway in Copenhagen tomorrow (16 November).
The negotiations will cover several key species for the Scottish fishing fleet, including North Sea cod, haddock, saithe and herring. Scientific advice is recommending an increase for North Sea haddock of at least 30% and North Sea cod of 15%, reflecting the healthy state of many of Scotland’s most important fish stocks.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “The key difference in the talks that begin tomorrow compared with previous years is that they come against the background of the introduction of the landing obligation, or discard ban as it is known, for demersal fishers.
“This means that as well as the quota proposals made by the European Commission, there will be a further quota uplift recommendation specifically for those stocks affected by the first phase of the discard ban.
“Advice from the EC’s scientific, technical and economic committee for fisheries is expected very soon, which will be used in the final decision-making process for this additional quota. Provision for further quota uplifts above the final agreed catch limits is essential so as to enable the fleet to cope with the landing obligation regulations.”
Following this week’s talks, there will be a second round of EU/Norway fish quota talks in Bergen beginning on 30 November. The final catching opportunities for 2016 will then be agreed at the EU Fish Council in Brussels commencing on 14 December.