Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, on Friday, the International Council for Exploration of the Sea published its annual fish stock assessment figures, advice which showed that North Sea haddock stocks exceed even last year's record highs. Yet the headline story fed to the media, in advance of that advice, referred only to cod stocks and the lack of improvement therein in the North Sea. This has echoes of last year's situation when, after the publication of scientific advice, there followed threats to close the entire North Sea to all fishing. Ultimately, at the December Council last year, the Commission tabled a quota recovery plan which quickly proved to be unworkable. It did nothing to safeguard cod and it prevented Scots fishermen from catching their allowed haddock quota. If – and I say if – we have a new fisheries Commissioner by the end of this week, I call upon him fully to involve the new North Sea Regional Advisory Council in the setting of quotas in advance of this December's Council, so that a sensible and workable plan on quota setting procedure can take place.

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