Simon Collins, executive officer of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association, described the quota increases ratified by the December Fisheries Council as broadly good news for local whitefish boats.
“They reflect the robust nature of most of the key demersal stocks and for once bring some good cheer to fishermen this Christmas,” he said.
“But New Year’s Day marks the introduction of the discard ban for whitefish, starting with haddock and plaice.
“Nobody wants to dump fish at sea, but the vast majority of our fishermen are sceptical that this ban is going to work in practice.
“Fish stocks are in good shape because of the efforts and sacrifices of fishermen over many years, so it is vital for the future of this industry on which Shetland depends that the EU, national governments and fisheries regulators get it right.
“The phased extension of the discard ban in future years will require flexibility and common sense, and we will continue to press for both.”
Mr Collins added: “Next year also needs to be the year that access arrangements between the EU and Faroe in the mackerel fishery are renegotiated to ensure a much fairer distribution of the catch of this high-value species.”