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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Fishing Champion MP Welcomes Scottish Quota Gains

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The SNP’s Spokesperson on Fisheries at Westminster, Dr. Eilidh Whiteford, has welcomed the outcome of the December Fisheries Council which has resulted in key quota gains for the Scottish fishing industry.

A freeze on proposed cuts to days fishermen can go to sea and gains in key quotas were two of the main wins for Scotland as a package for the next 12 months was agreed this week by EU Fishing Ministers.

The deal will see significant increases for the Scottish industry in key quotas such as monkfish, prawns, West Coast haddock and Rockall haddock. Initial estimates by the Scottish Government suggest that the quota deal will be worth an additional £10 million to the Scottish whitefish and prawn fleets.

Dr Whiteford, whose constituency has some of the most fishing-dependent communities in Europe, commented:

“The increase in quota is a welcome gain for the Scottish fleet and I commend Richard Lochhead and his negotiating team for winning such favourable concessions. These negotiations have resulted in increases in quota in 8 out of 10 of the most valuable North Sea and West Coast stocks – that will be a welcome economic boost not just for our fishing fleet but for our processors and the coastal communities in which they are rooted.”

“I also hope that these increases in quota and a freeze on the cuts to days at sea will help ease the burden of implementing the landing obligation, which starts to come into effect in January for parts of the fleet. Our industry has been straining to make the point that this discard ban will be very difficult to implement in mixed fisheries and I hope that some progress can be made on finding a workable way forward.”

Earlier this month, the Banff & Buchan MP used her speech in the House of Common’s annual fisheries debate to demand a consistent enforcement regime for all vessels subject to the discard ban, including non-EU boats fishing in Scottish waters, and warned of the need to move beyond single species quotas to make the landing obligation workable in a mixed fishery.

Dr. Whiteford also put on record a tribute to the lost crew of the Fraserburgh-registered Ocean Way, which sank off the coast of Northumberland earlier this year.

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