The date today is 08-04-10

Fishing football again

Sep 9th, 2009 | By ssacn | Category: Scottish Executive News

A study commissioned by the Scottish government earlier this year to demonstrate to the EC the financial difficulties facing fishermen as a result of the impact of the economic downturn and conservation measures has been published.

Carried out by economists at industry authority Seafish, it looked at the current and future impacts on fleets of fuel and fish prices, quota reductions and restrictions on days at sea.

Unsurprisingly the study found :

  • Fuel and prices are the key factors affecting the profits of the nephrops sector
  • For the demersal (cod, haddock and whiting) sector, the report indicates that days at sea restrictions have a critical impact
  • Additional restrictions proposed by Europe for 2010 are likely to create additional impact
  • The sector is likely to remain financially fragile with some operations making a net loss.

Commenting on the study, Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Fishing is a tough way of life at the best of times but this year the combined effect of the economic climate and the tough restrictions imposed by Europe has made life particularly difficult for our fishermen.

“We have stressed this point a number of times in our dealings with the European Commission and commissioned this study to provide robust evidence. It shows just how economically fragile our fleets are.

“We are about to enter the annual round of autumn negotiations in Europe, when crucial decisions are taken on quotas and days at sea. This study will help inform our negotiating position and, as a first step, we will be discussing it with Commission officials later this month.”

Commenting on the report, Liberal Democrat Fisheries spokesman Liam McArthur MSP said: “Richard Lochhead spent months defending the deal he struck in Brussels last December, despite the industry telling him otherwise.

“The fisheries secretary needs to stop blaming Europe for his mistakes and get a better deal for Scotland this time around. Fishermen cannot take any further effort cuts.

“Any plans SNP ministers have to open up divisions with their UK counterparts ahead of those talks must also be shelved now. Suspicions are growing that the SNP may have more of an eye on next year’s General Election than the interests of our fleet. But the fishing industry is too important to be used by SNP ministers as a political football in their grudge match with Westminster.”

Related posts:

  1. Lochhead gives way
  2. Annual TACs and quotas
  3. Catching sector being let down
  4. Scottish Conservatives accuse
  5. Keep your eye on the ball

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