European Commission (Agriculture and Rural Development)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 6th January 2016.

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Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

Gil Paterson highlights the fact that new discard bans will come into force in Scotland’s waters in 2016. They will relate to the discarding of good-quality dead fish by throwing them overboard, which is a complete waste. For the first year, the ban will affect the demersal sector—the whitefish and shellfish sector—in Scotland.

The issue featured as part of the annual fisheries negotiations a few weeks ago, with regard to 2016 fishing opportunities. I recall that, a few years ago, I said to the European Commission that, for the discard bans to work, there has to be a reward for the fishermen to make it practically possible for them to fish all their quotas and that there must be an increase in their quotas to reflect the fact that there were discard bans in place. I am, therefore, pleased that that was part of the outcome of last month’s negotiations. For example, we managed to secure the proposed 30 per cent increase in North Sea haddock, and that was topped up by a further 17 per cent increase in quota to account for the discard bans. It is good that we are seeing a rise in fish quotas to take account of the fact that we now have discard bans in place in Scottish waters.