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Fisheries Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th November 2019.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

Perhaps I could respond to Ms Wishart in my closing remarks.

The EU fisheries council meeting in December will bring negotiations to a conclusion. I will cut the detail on that, if I may, Presiding Officer, except to say that a tough job lies ahead of us. I am conscious that conducting those negotiations against the backdrop of the UK general election does not make things any easier than they already are.

I look forward to listening to the debate. I hope that it is a constructive, rational, positive, evidence-based, forward-looking, forensic, helpful and courteous debate—and I hope that my hopes are not too highly set.

I move,

That the Parliament acknowledges the conclusion of coastal state negotiations, the ongoing bilateral negotiation with Norway on shared stocks in the North Sea, and the forthcoming annual fisheries negotiations in the Faroe Islands and Brussels; notes that 2019 saw the full implementation of the landing obligation for whitefish stocks and that the outcome of negotiations will be pivotal in helping Scotland’s fishing fleet to reduce the potential impacts of choke species in mixed fisheries; is concerned that failure to explore and adopt all available solutions in this regard, coupled with challenging scientific advice, could potentially tie the fleet up; welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to respect stock sustainability in relation to next year’s quotas, and supports its efforts to achieve the best possible outcome for Scotland’s fishermen, the wider seafood sector and coastal communities.