THE Scottish Government has welcomed the possibility of higher fish quotas saying a scientific assessment shows numbers of haddock, plaice and nephrops lobsters in the North Sea are on the increase.

The annual publication by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), an international network of marine and fisheries scientists, guides the fisheries negotiations that take place in the autumn and decide how much quota our fishermen will receive in the coming year.

It is thought stocks of fish such as cod, whiting, saithe and herring, catches will remain at current levels and potentially decrease in line with management plans.

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Scottish fisheries secretary, Richard Lochhead, said: "As usual, this scientific advice shows a mixed picture. I am greatly encouraged by the prospects for increased catches in 2015 for North Sea haddock and nephrops, particularly after the cuts sustained this year.

"These are two of the most valuable stocks for our fleet and this will be very welcome news for our fishermen. For North Sea cod, although numbers continue to increase, progress is slower."