Benefit of EU fishing changes

A glimmer of hope is on the horizon for Berwickshire fishermen as the long awaited changes to Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy look as if they are about to happen at last.

A ban on discards and a degree of control being put back in the hands of those who are fishing that area would be beneficial to Berwickshire fishermen according to Berwickshire MSP John Lamont.

Political agreement still has to be formally approved but it appears that there is no change on the discards policy as agreed by the Council earlier last month and that the sustainability targets to be reached by 2020 are still intact.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said: “The final agreement once reached needs to ensure that political decision-making on achieving conservation targets and reducing discards are not implemented in such a way that it ends up wrecking the fishing industry.

“The devil will be very much in the detail but the final regulation must be practical so that it can realistically work for the fishing fleet.”

John Lamont added: “There has been a need to reform the Common Fisheries Policy for many years now, and I am glad that it finally looks as if it will be going ahead.

“For too long fishermen on the Berwickshire coast have suffered from restrictive quotas with many of them being forced out of business.

“This agreement will hopefully be a positive step for fishermen across Scotland, as not only does it represent progress towards banning discards, it will also put more power back in the hands of local fishermen.”