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White-fish Vessels

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive — Environment and Rural Development – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 18th November 2004.

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Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat 2:00 pm, 18th November 2004

There are one or two complicated calculations with which the scientific community calculates the fishing mortality factors in relation to the data. I think that Mr Harper is aware of those calculations, and I would be happy to have my department write to him setting out the bases of them.

Mr Brocklebank's question about the number of vessels was legitimate, but the December council is about achieving a level of effort reduction. At the December council two years ago, it was agreed to seek an overall reduction of 65 per cent in fishing mortality in relation to cod stocks. The reason for we in Scotland arguing that we have already achieved 35 per cent of that relates to the number of vessels that have been decommissioned multiplied by the formula to which I have just referred, which talks not about vessels, but about fishing effort. I agree that, at its heart, the debate is about fishing effort.