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West coast fears as fish talks start 

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17 December, 2008

WITH the European Commission’s fisheries council starting its annual quota talks today (Wednesday), all eyes are on the threat to close all fishing for cod, haddock and whiting off Scotland’s west coast.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association has warned that any ban on west coast fishing could see more boats working the islands’ traditional grounds.

Fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead hopes to overturn the proposal, while winning a rollover on prawn quotas and gaining an increase in monkfish and megrim quotas.

Mr Lochhead admitted whitefish stocks were low off the west coast, but said the closure plan was “completely unacceptable”.

He said he would be putting forward “a robust counter proposal” to protect the nephrops fishery, worth £45 million on the west coast.

"By working with, and listening to, fishermen the Scottish government has put forward a coherent and positive package of measures which are not based on blunt closures, but on clever ways of operating,” he said.

"The package includes the use of larger nets, selective gear inside nets which increase the number of whitefish able to escape and increased use of real time and season closures on the west coast, which have proven very effective in the North Sea.”

The government says that 350 boats and 500 processing jobs could be hit by the proposed ban.
 


Most recent update - Friday, 19 December 2008 14:15
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