12 Dec 2012
Scottish fishermen have done their bit and should not be subjected to 20 per cent reductions in how much cod they catch, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
Speaking at a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the Annual EU Fisheries Negotiations, fisheries spokesman Jamie McGrigor said it was time for fleets from other European countries to start shouldering some responsibility.
As part of the Cod Recovery Plan, the EU also intends to cut the number of days at sea fishermen can work by 10 per cent.
It was pointed out that fishermen in Scotland have spent years making numerous sacrifices to ensure cod stocks can recover.
Mr McGrigor added there was evidence that stocks were recovering well following action by UK fleets, and that the biomass of the stock had doubled in the past five years.
Scottish Conservative fisheries spokesman Jamie McGrigor MSP said:
“The Scottish fleet has shown itself to be one of the most responsible in Europe.
“The suggested 20 per cent reduction in North Sea cod is not acceptable.
“Scottish fishermen have done incredible amounts of work on enlarging the mesh size of nets, experimenting with different types of cod end in the trawl net and they have installed escape panels in the nets.
“All of these measures have helped with minimising discards and the cod recovery plan, despite causing Scottish fishermen a great deal of financial hardship and extra labour.
“Video cameras have been installed in some instances to make sure there is evidence of the right things happening.
“How many other European fleets have done as much in the name of conservation?”