Monday, 16 December 2013
The annual fisheries debate in the House of Commons has highlighted some of the issues for Scottish Fishing communities. Banff & Buchan MP and SNP Westminster fisheries spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford questioned the Minister seeking a commitment he will not allow days at sea to be reduced further.
Commenting, Eilidh said:
“Last year, common sense prevailed and there was recognition that rigid adherence to the plan would be counter-productive. The same applies this year. If the proposed 9% quota cut goes ahead, it will inevitably lead to an increase in discards, which is exactly what we are trying to prevent. In my view, we need to continue following the science—and the science indicates that a small increase in the allowable catch for North sea cod will enable the stock to keep growing and keep our long-term outcome of a sustainable fishery on track. I hope the Westminster Government will promote that objective in the forthcoming talks, and I seek their assurance on that.
“I also sought a commitment from the Minister that he will not let days at sea be reduced any further, and that he will support an effort to freeze this at 2012-13 levels. Automatic reductions in days at sea will not give the fleet enough time to catch its quota, and that can only increase risk to our fishermen.
“A great deal rides on the forthcoming negotiations. As everyone else looks forward to winding down for Christmas, December is a particularly tense and anxious time of year for fishing communities and everyone who works in the fishing industry.”