UK Gov must represent Scotland in EU negotiations.
Scotland’s Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing has called on the UK Government to ensure that Scotland’s interests are being fully represented at the December Council in Brussels following a disappointing outcome to recent negotiations.
Mr Ewing called for the UK delegation to prioritise the resolution of choke risks associated with low or zero Total Allowable Catch (TAC) stocks above all other issues at the meeting, given the potential impact on Scottish fishermen.
Mr Ewing said:
“We now know what deal the UK Government proposes to take to Brussels for this year’s December Council negotiations and, although I support the general principles outlined, I have some major misgivings about some of the details.
“I’m particularly concerned about the arrangements outlined for West of Scotland Cod and Whiting, which is why the delegation has to consider the brokering of a workable solution for those stocks as its highest priority.
“I am disappointed at the outcome of the recently concluded EU Norway negotiations, which appear to have pushed aside the need to prioritise critical landing obligation issues of North Sea stocks, in favour of a deal that is neither fair nor acceptable to Scotland’s fishing industry – particularly in regards to the source of the Blue Whiting currency and the destination of the incoming Arctic Cod.
“I cannot accept this situation and the excessive associated costs and losses that Scotland incurs as a result. I have therefore requested that our officials work together as a matter of urgency to ensure that the deal sought at the December Council better reflects an appropriate and fair deal for Scotland.
“I’m sure my counterparts in London need no reminding that this could be the last ever Council in which the UK Government has a vote. It’s more important than ever before to secure the best possible deal for Scotland and the UK’s fishing industry, as the outcomes could endure for some time before we are in a position to directly influence future negotiations.
“The Scottish Government will fully support all efforts to secure the best deal possible.”