BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 11 November, 2002, 19:38 GMT
Mixed reaction to cod plan
Cod
Fleets have been warned to expect hardship
Indications that a complete ban on North Sea cod catches could be avoided have received a mixed reaction from Scottish fishermen and politicians.

European Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler said on Monday that he wanted to explore options other than the closure of the fishing grounds.

However, he warned that there would still be hardship for the Scottish fleet.


There is a long, long way to go, but I think this kind of approach is the right one

Hamish Morrison
Scottish Fishermen's Federation
Mr Fischler was speaking in response to a report by EU scientists which highlighted the alarming state of cod stocks.

His comments received a guarded welcome from Hamish Morrison, the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation.

He said: "We have been at the brink and stepped back from the brink several times in the last few weeks, so no chickens should be counted yet.

"There is a long, long way to go, but I think this kind of approach is the right one."

However, George MacRae, secretary of the Scottish Whitefish Producers' Association, said: "There is no good news for the fishing industry yet."

Technical measures

He wanted to wait and see the detail of the alternative plans - and warned that a significant cut in effort could be as bad as closure.

And Peterhead skipper Peter Bruce told BBC Scotland: "I just feel really angry.

"He (Mr Fischler) has not taken into consideration the technical measures that we have done this year."

Cod
EU cod stocks have dwindled
There was also anger from Tory MEP Struan Stevenson, the chairman of the European Fisheries Committee.

He said that cuts could still wipe out "vast swathes" of the Scottish industry.

"For every job lost at sea we could lose three more on land in harbours and in the processing industry," he said.

"I cannot... countenance that kind of devastation."

However, there was a cautious welcome from Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie, who met fishermen in Aberdeen on Monday to discuss the way forward for the industry.

He said: "It is helpful that in today's interim statement Franz Fischler indicated that he is actively looking at alternatives to closure.


In the crucial weeks ahead Ross Finnie has to stand up to Europe and stand up for Scotland's fishing communities

Richard Lochhead
SNP fisheries spokesman
"We await the commission's formal proposals, however, before we are in a position to respond in detail."

Scottish National Party fisheries spokesman Richard Lochhead also took part in the Aberdeen summit.

He said: "It is time to end the remote control of our fishing communities from Brussels.

"Any new recovery plans must be worked up by the Scottish fishing industry in partnership with the government once the current science has been updated and completed.

"In the crucial weeks ahead Ross Finnie has to stand up to Europe and stand up for Scotland's fishing communities."

Total ban

A study presented to the meeting suggested that a 60% cut in fishing would mean about 4,000 job losses and cost the Scottish economy 250m.

It emerged last month that EU scientists wanted a total ban on cod fishing introduced in an effort to conserve stocks.

They also recommended a moratorium on catching other species, such as haddock and whiting, where cod is often caught by mistake.

Struan Stevenson
Struan Stevenson warned of devastation
A committee advising the European Commission has now endorsed the report from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas.

Fishermen's leaders have warned that a ban could put most of Scotland's fishing fleet out of business, with the loss of between 10,000 and 15,000 jobs.

Mr Fischler admitted on Monday that there were "difficult days ahead" for the cod fishing industry.

He said the scientific advice had shown that the surest way forward was the closure of cod and other associated fisheries.

"However, I know what this means for the fishermen and therefore I am exploring other options," he said.

'Drastic' cuts

He said that if ministers agreed an improved recovery plan it could allow fishing for cod to continue on a very limited level.

He said the moves could include "drastic" cuts in quotas and improved controls on catches.

However, Mr Fischler stressed: "This alternative option would also mean some hardship."

He said fishing leaders would be consulted on ideas for a improved recovery plan at a meeting on 18 November.

Mr Fischler's recommendations will be put to European ministers in December for a final decision.

See also:

11 Nov 02 | Science/Nature
11 Nov 02 | Scotland
05 Nov 02 | Scotland
05 Nov 02 | Scotland
31 Oct 02 | Scotland
30 Oct 02 | Scotland
23 Oct 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes