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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 12:49 GMT
Finnie to outline fishing stance
Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie
Ross Finnie will unveil his thoughts on EU plans to parliament
Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie is set to reveal his stance on European plans to close cod grounds in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Finnie will outline his views ahead of crunch talks later this month with the European Commission (EC) over fishing management plans for 2005.

The industry has already objected to its proposals, unveiled on Wednesday, to shut cod grounds in the North Sea.

The minister has claimed the EC's plans "fly in the face" of recent advice.

'Tough measures'

The commission has proposed the closure of dangerously depleted cod grounds in the North Sea, Irish Sea and off the west of Scotland.

Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said "tough measures" were needed to restore endangered stocks and keep the Scots fleet in business.

He said the EC had sought to strike a balance between the two issues and decided not to adopt even tougher recommendations by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices) calling for a total ban on cod fishing around Scotland next year.

There is no case for this closed area and we will oppose it unreservedly
Ross Finnie
Fisheries Minister

However, the executive claims analysis of the Ices data by the commission's own Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) had questioned the rationale for any complete closure.

Following the EC's announcement, Mr Finnie said: "Proposals on closed areas have already been overtaken by the advice from the commission's own technical advisers and fly in the face of representations by the newly-formed North Sea Regional Advisory Council.

"There is no case for this closed area and we will oppose it unreservedly."

The Scottish White Fish Producers' Association also described the proposals as "out of date", urging the ministers to ensure the final EU deal for Scotland falls into line with what the industry thinks is sensible.

The proposals, including the year's total allowable catch (TAC) quotas for various species, will be the focus of negotiations by Europe's national fisheries ministers from 20 to 23 December in Brussels.


SEE ALSO:
'Outdated' fishing plan attacked
08 Dec 04 |  Scotland
EU set to close fishing grounds
08 Dec 04 |  Science/Nature
Fishing plan 'will kill industry'
07 Dec 04 |  Scotland
Experts urge radical fishing ban
07 Dec 04 |  Scotland
Fish areas 'need drastic action'
07 Dec 04 |  Science/Nature


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