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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Commissioner gives fishing pledge
Fishermen and net
The Scottish white fish fleet has been cut in recent years
Europe's Fisheries Commissioner said ministers would consider the concerns of the Scottish fishing industry when they meet to set quotas for 2007.

Joe Borg said he hoped to negotiate an agreement which prevented "unnecessary hardship" for North Sea fishermen but protected dwindling cod stocks.

Mr Borg was speaking on a two-day visit to Scotland.

He is meeting representatives from the fishing sector, politicians and members of the offshore industries.

He is being urged by the country's fishing leaders to maintain existing quotas and days at sea when European ministers meet in December to set next year's catch limits.
We want to try and work out a solution which does not prejudice possibilities for the recovery of cod, but takes into account the realities and concerns of fishermen
Joe Borg
European Fisheries Commissioner

Concerns have been raised from members of the fishing sector over a report by scientists from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which recommends ministers impose a total ban on cod catches.

Speaking in Aberdeen, Mr Borg said: "There are certain aspects in the report which indicate that certain stocksof fish are recovering, but there are also indications that the situation for other fish are very bad, for cod in particular.

"The situation with cod is still far from what we would like it to be. We want to try and work out a solution which does not prejudice possibilities for the recovery of cod, but takes into account what the realities and concerns of the fishermen are so that we try to avoid unnecessary hardship.

Further cuts

Mr Borg admitted that the commission's efforts to protect depleting cod numbers had not worked as well as had been hoped.

Richard Lochhead MSP, the SNP's fishing spokesman, condemned Mr Borg's stance on Scotland's fishing fleet.

He said: "Scottish fishermen have been promised that the sacrifice of the biggest part of the white fish fleet would create a viable fleet for their future.

"The equivocation by Commissioner Borg about further cuts will simply not do. With fishermen making their first profits in years it's time for stability not restriction."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scotland's fishing fleet could be facing further cuts



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