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Handline Mackerel Assurances
The NFFO and the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association have met to address fears over the reallocation of South West mackerel handline quota.
NFFO Chief Executive, Barrie Deas, said:
“We took the opportunity of the EU/Norway negotiations in Bergen to sit down with the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association to explain our concerns and have been reassured by the response”.
“We explained that not only is this quota vital for a large number of under and over 10m vessels in the South West but that in years when it is not fully utilised the quota provides valuable swap currency to ease quota pressures where there are pinch points in the under-10m allocations.”
Ian Gatt, Chief Executive of the SPFA, said:
“This was a useful discussion. We were able to assure the NFFO that we are very sensitive to the fears in the South West over reallocation. There has been some confusion over where this issue has come from because the last thing that the SPFA would want to do is disadvantage fellow fishermen in the handline fishery.”
“Obviously, we are eager to ensure full uptake of the UK’s mackerel quota, especially against the background of the difficult international situation with mackerel. But we fully appreciate that the handline quota is the lifeblood of the small boat fishery in the South West.”
Barrie Deas added:
“We have agreed to keep in close contact on this issue given its importance. The bottom line is that the interests of the handliners should come uppermost in any question of reallocation, and that any unutilised quota is valid swap currency.”