Following a week of negotiations between Norway and the EU, a new bi-lateral agreement for the management of shared fish stocks in the North Sea has been signed by the two sides.
The Norwegian Fisheries Minister, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, (Photo) says she is pleased that the new agreement gives Norwegian fishermen an extra quota of cod.
Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
"Following a week of intense negotiations, we now have a deal in place for 2012 which sees a welcome rise in quotas for a number of key Scottish stocks. North Sea Herring quota - a stock that is MSC certified for Scottish landings - is set to more than double, while North Sea haddock and whiting quotas will also increase by 15%. It's critical that we stick to robust scientific advice when setting these quotas, which is the only way to support sustainable fisheries".
The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) agreement for the North Sea fishery reached at the EU-Norway negotiations in Bergen are:
Whiting +15 per cent
Herring +102.5 per cent
Cod -1 per cent (however an extra amount up to 12 per cent of the TAC is available for those vessels in the catch quota scheme) Haddock +15 per cent Saithe -15 per cent Mackerel TAC will be agreed following further talks later this month to seek an international agreement with the Faroe Islands and Iceland.
Under catch quotas vessels can land, rather than be forced to discard, an extra amount equal to 12 per cent of the TAC for cod. This is less than the amount fishermen are estimated to have discarded under the traditional quota system. To ensure there are no discards, the fishing practices of participating vessels is fully documented through on-board cameras.