Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the SFF, said the main damage for the Scottish industry – a 50% cut in the total allowable catch (TAC) for North Sea cod – was done at the bilateral negotiations between the EU and Norway prior to the December Fisheries Council.
“Since the UK did not have its own seat in those negotiations, it was very hard to make the case for our industry.
“When the UK leaves the EU and becomes an independent coastal state, we will take our rightful place at the table and be able to negotiate in our own right.”
She added: “The reduction in the TAC for North Sea cod next year will have a serious economic impact on the Scottish whitefish sector, presenting major practical difficulties for the fleet.
“Despite the disappointing and damaging outcome, we are grateful to Fergus Ewing and his team of officials who, alongside their UK counterparts, worked tirelessly to achieve the best outcomes in difficult circumstances.
“We also welcome their commitment to review and update the stock assessment model for North Sea cod, reflecting the changing distribution of the species, most likely due to climate change.
“In anticipation of better days ahead, the SFF looks forward to working closely and constructively with both the Scottish and UK governments on the development of the Fisheries Agreement that will establish the framework for the future of the industry outside the Common Fisheries Policy.”