Fishing Must Not Be Neglected In Marine Resource Management

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
17 March 2010, at 12:00am

UK - Bertie Armstrong, the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermens Federation, will today (17 March) tell a major conference on the future management of marine resources in the North Sea that the primary and sustainable harvesting of seafood must be considered in balance with the activities of other stakeholders such a the oil, gas and renewable energy sectors.

Speaking at the North Sea Stakeholder Conference in Newcastle, Mr Armstrong will tell delegates that rather than being regarded as an easy target with limited importance, fishing should be regarded as a vital economic activity with Scottish landings alone worth over £400m to the country’s economy. The catching sector in Scotland directly employs 5,000 people, supporting fragile rural communities.

Mr Armstrong will say: “Seafood is an iconic product and we are incredibly fortunate to have such a wonderful and renewable food source right on our doorstep in the North Sea.”

Speaking on the theme of the development of an integrated maritime policy for the North Sea, he will say that it is vital that the right balance is struck between the activities of all users. There is already excellent collaboration between the fishing industry and other marine stakeholders such as the oil & gas sector and the JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), but ensuring integration of these diverse range of activities requires careful planning.

“Integration can mean increased competition between sectors and this must not be allowed to blind the decision-makers. Super-economic activities such as oil and gas, and the ‘sexy’ newcomers such as renewable energy, should not supersede the importance of traditional industries such as fishing,” he will say.

“The priorities of any integrated maritime policy for the North Sea must be environmental protection, social equity and cohesion and economic prosperity, with all three of these pillars receiving balanced attention.”