Date lodged: 18 July 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it had with UK Government regarding the lifting of the ban on overseas trading of skates and rays quotas.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 15 August 2016
In May and June 2016 I wrote to and spoke with UK Government Ministers about their decision to ban export of certain skates and rays quota from the United Kingdom.
This ban had the effect of preventing valuable monkfish quota from being imported into Scotland by the Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation (SFO), which had organised an international swap that involved the export of 1 per cent of one of the UK’s skates and rays quotas, in return for over 200 tonnes of monkfish quota.
I wrote to Ministers in the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in June 2016 and held a number of follow up meetings, in person and by telephone. I insisted that the Scottish fleet be able to access the full amount of Monkfish quota available internationally, and rejected UK suggestions that the ban continue over the summer 2016.
I was pleased that the UK Government relaxed the ban, allowing SFO vessels to resume monkfish fishing on 10 July 2016, so that they can now land the additional monkfish quota, which has a value of up to £600,000. This additional supply will also be welcomed by fish processors and through the supply chain. It is clear that, without the intervention of the Scottish Government, resolution of this unnecessary problem could well have been postponed for months.