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Scotland to Learn from Norwegian Fisheries Management

29 June 2012

UK - Scotland has a lot to learn from Norway’s approach to fisheries management and how they develop fishing communities.

That was the message Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead took from a two-day visit to Norway earlier this week, which included meetings with Norwegian Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen.

Mr Lochhead said:“Maintaining strong relationships with Norway, our primary partner for fisheries, is important for the Scottish fleet. In addition, there is also a lot Scotland can take from the Norwegian way of supporting vibrant coastal communities.

“I had very productive discussions with Ms Berg-Hansen, including the work both countries have taken forward to tackle the problem of fish discarding and where we can learn from each other. As an independent country outwith the Common Fisheries Policy, Norway has different tools available – such as more flexibility on quotas and landings – while in Scotland we have pioneered CCTV on vessels to ensure there is no discarding.

“The situation with the mackerel fishery, which continues to be overfished by Faroes and Iceland, was on the agenda. I’m pleased that Scotland and Norway are both in firm agreement that we need to renew efforts to secure an international agreement for 2013 – but we cannot reward bad behaviour through a deal at any cost.

“The ‘can-do’ attitude of Norwegians to rural development was refreshing. I visited the Austevoll island archipelago and it was very impressive to see how government support had helped a fishing backwater develop into a successful seafood and shipping hub – supporting jobs and boosting local population growth.

“With many coastal and island communities, Norway is similar to Scotland and I believe we can learn from this approach. We have agreed that we will continue to work together on a wide variety of fisheries issues and we look forward to welcoming Norwegian officials to Scotland later in the year to build on this visit.”

Mr Lochhead was in Bergen for two days this week (June 25-26). In addition to meeting with Ms Berg-Hansen, he visited the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, Norwegian Institute of Marine Management, the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, and the Norwegian Pelagic Sales Organisation. Mr Lochhead also travelled on a Norwegian Coastguard vessel with Ms Berg-Hansen to the Austevoll municipality, where he met with Mayor Helge Andre Njåstad.

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