Scottish rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon (pictured above) responded recently to UK industry proposals for a cod symposium, bringing together scientists, fishermen and fisheries managers to look at current data collection and analysis, and collaborate on improved science that would see a closer match between availability of fish on the grounds and allowable catches.
The call, made after a meeting in Copenhagen, was echoed by similar calls from industry leaders in Norway and Denmark, where vessels are facing identical problems.
Mairi Gougeon said: “The Scottish government takes an evidence-informed, collaborative approach to negotiating the total allowable catch (TAC) for North Sea cod, which is agreed jointly between the UK, EU and Norway, and is guided by the science from the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
“We will continue to focus on delivering best outcomes for Scotland’s fishing interests by engaging with industry, and through securing sustainable catching opportunities for our healthy seafood, which makes a significant contribution to the economic and cultural fabric of our coastal communities.”
Whilst failing to directly address the calls for a symposium, or to give it her backing, the cabinet secretary did confirm to Fishing News a response to the wider issues exacerbated by the rising fuel prices that are impacting the entire fish supply chain, saying: “The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has impacted overall food supplies, and many fishing businesses, along with people, communities and other sectors, are struggling with the increased cost of living, especially in relation to fuel.
“We have raised this with the UK government to mitigate impacts, and established the Food Security and Supply Taskforce with partners from Scotland’s food and drink industry to monitor, identify and respond to any potential disruption to food security and supply.
“The taskforce will analyse the supply chain, assess the impact of trade flows, and recommend short, medium and long-term actions that can be taken to mitigate impacts and resolve any supply issues, both by government and industry.”
This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.