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A Welcome Focus On Unacceptable Discarding

by the Fish Site Editor
12 January 2011, at 12:00am

SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish Fishermens Federation has welcomed the spotlight that is being turned this week on the unacceptable practice of the discarding of fish in a TV programme by campaigning chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive, says he is hopeful that this renewed public focus will help provide the impetus required to spark a change in the inflexible fish catching regulations that are at the root of discards.

“We welcome the public attention this programme will attract to the totally unacceptable practice of discards, which the Scottish fishing industry has long campaigned against.

“The message we have continually been trying to get across is that the current rules are not fit for purpose and do not legislate for situations where fishermen encounter an abundance of fish or highly varying proportions of different species of fish in our mixed fisheries.

“The Scottish fishing industry has done all in its power to work for change within the confines of the existing rules by altering our operational practices so as to ensure a sustainable future. For example, we have been innovating with more selective nets and it is anticipated that there will be in the region of 200 real-time closures to fishing in 2011. The fleet is also being continually cut back, with another 41 vessels due to leave by this spring.

“But it is patently obvious that the only way to halt the wanton waste of fish discarding is for there to be a change in the management regulations so as to take into account the complex mixed fisheries that our fleet operates in.

“The current situation involves a complex mess of rules applied to individual stocks that has led to a framework which actually requires for fish to be discarded in order to stay within the law. This is unacceptable and there must be real and urgent change in the way that our fisheries are managed.”

the Fish Site Editor