Representing & Supporting Shetland’s Fishermen

Statement on UK and EU/Norway fisheries deal
December 12th 2022

Reacting to today’s deal between the UK and the EU and Norway on fish catches for 2023, and particularly the 63% increase in North Sea cod quota, SFA executive officer Simon Collins said:

“This is absolute vindication for skippers who have always argued that swingeing cuts to cod quotas in recent years were excessive relative to the abundance of the stock seen on the grounds.

“Deficiencies in stock assessment processes are finally being addressed, and the science is now catching up with reality, proving that fishermen have had the right of it. Today’s announcement gives lie to the notion propagated by eNGOs that cod stocks are facing ‘extinction’, or that fish stocks in our seas are in poor shape – when in fact the opposite is true.

“The agreed quota increases also announced today for other species such as haddock, saithe and whiting mean a more viable future for Shetland’s family-owned fishing fleet, on which the well-being of our whole wider community depends.”

Details of the deal are available here.

Stocks of Scotland’s key commercial fish species, especially haddock and cod, are at their highest level for decades, according to new official assessments.

The spawning stock biomass of haddock is the largest it has been since 1972 and cod the largest since 1998.

Other species in the North Sea, such as whiting and plaice, are also up – and predicted to rise further.

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) advice, summarised by Dr Ian Napier of UHI Shetland and highlighted recently by the Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA), underlines why recommendations were made for catch increases next year.

Dr Napier’s paper can be viewed here.