Following the conclusion of the December Fisheries Council in Brussels today Leslie Tait, chairman of Shetland Fishermen’s Association, said he was relieved that there would be no further reduction next year in days at sea.
But he added that island fishermen would be disappointed to be going into Christmas with uncertainty surrounding how much of their main stocks, such as cod, haddock and whiting, they would be able to catch in 2014.
No agreement was reached between the EU and Norway prior to this year’s round of quota-setting – it is this deal that determines how much of the key species Shetland fishermen can land.
With a battle continuing over mackerel quota between the EU/Norway and Faroe and Iceland, it may be February before a deal is reached.
Mr Tait said: "While many of our key quotas have yet to be decided in talks between the EU and Norway, possibly as late as February, we do know that effort will not be cut, that a proposed reduction in monkfish quota will be limited to 10 per cent instead of 20 per cent and that there could be scope for an increase in cod quota.
“Like cod, quotas for North Sea haddock, ling, whiting and saithe will be finalised with Norway. We would be very concerned if Commission proposals for cuts in some of these quotas were agreed, as stocks are in better shape than they have been for decades."
The Commission also agreed to an eight per cent increase in the megrim catch in the North Sea and 20 per cent off the West Coast as well as a 49 per cent increase in the hake catch in all areas.