Friday, 7 October 2011

2012 is pivotal year for fishing

Scotland is about to enter a crunch and potentially historic year for its fishing industry, Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said today.

Speaking in Edinburgh at the first Scottish Fishermen's Federation dinner since the Government was re-elected in May, Mr Lochhead listed a whole raft of events taking place in 2012 which will shape the future of our valuable fishing industry and promote our hugely successful seafood sector. These events include:
  • Negotiation of EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform
  • Cod recovery plan being reviewed and changed
  • World Fisheries Congress coming to Edinburgh in May
  • Promotion of Scottish Seafood worldwide
The Minster also announced a £12.3m package of European grants which will help to ensure the infrastructure which supports the fishing fleet is fit for purpose, reduce discards, improve safety and add value to the supply chain, all of which will help to provide an economic boost for fishing communities throughout Scotland.

Mr Lochhead said:

"We must take advantage of the plethora of opportunities that lie ahead of us in 2012 and maximise the benefits to Scotland in what could be a truly pivotal year for our fishing industry.

"We must ensure we get the best deal we can for Scotland's fishermen in the CFP negotiations. The CFP has decimated our fishing communities, destroyed jobs and failed our stocks. So we must make the most of the opportunity we have now. We must turn something that has been wrong and badly damaging for Scotland's fishermen for so many years into something positive that could provide real and fair benefits in the years ahead.

"To make it fair we must ensure the science is listened to. It is not fair or reasonable that decisions to impose large reductions on fishing quotas were taken based on scientific advice and yet when that same advice is now advocating a large increase in quotas it seems to be ignored. Our fishermen have played by the rules to protect and conserve our fish stocks at huge costs to themselves. It is only right they now start to reap some of the benefits that previous pain should now allow.

"The changes that will be made to the cod recovery plan give us an opportunity to shape what will impact on us most of all. However at this point while the review is ongoing I am calling for a pause in the effects of the plan namely the effort cuts. That is the only sensible option.

"The World Fisheries Congress coming to Scotland gives us a platform to demonstrate the quality of our science and also host leading experts in the field to learn from each other.

"And of course we will continue to promote around the world our fantastic Scottish seafood. Last year food exports hit a record high of over £1 billion. And seafood has the largest share of those food exports. That is a phenomenal level of success and we will do all we can to support the sector to be even more successful in the years ahead."

Commenting on the European grants announcement Mr Lochhead said:

"I am delighted to announce more than £12 million of funding for our fishing communities and look forward to unveiling details of the specific projects which will benefit shortly.

"We have continued to strongly support sea fisheries and the money will help to ensure that the infrastructure which supports the fleet is fit for purpose, aid safety training, gear trials to reduce discards and add value to the fisheries supply chain through improved processing, training and marketing. It will also provide a welcome economic boost to our fishing communities."

This £12 million support will be made available to projects through the European Fisheries Fund. An announcement will be made on successful projects shortly.

Total EFF programme worth up to £90 million depending on exchange rates (£50 million EU £40 million SG). We have committed some £60 million to date including this round.Further rounds of awards up to the end of 2013.
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