Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed many aspects of the outcome of this week’s European fisheries talks as they affect island fishermen. Dr Allan said the annual talks did highlight, however, why fishing nations should be making more of their own decisions about their fish stocks.
Commenting Alasdair Allan said: “The deal which was arrived at in the early hours has achieved many of the things for which the Scottish fisheries minister was fighting. For that, Richard Lochhead, deserves much credit. The agreement is certainly not perfect, and I will be looking to meet fishermen in the islands in the New Year about its implications. However, the agreement will prevent automatic cuts in days at sea and quotas already planned for next year.
“The 18% increase in quota for West Coast Nephrops is particularly important for the Western Isles fishing industry. There are also 20% increases for West Coast Herring.
“All of that said, there has to be a better way of negotiating these matters than the present frantic round of annual negotiations in Brussels. Fishing nations need more direct control of their fisheries, Scotland needs a seat at the top table, and we need a process that is driven by science and the needs of the industry – not by European political horse-trading.”