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North Sea Protection Area - A No Go

SCOTLAND - The marine protected area network suggested for North Sea by WWF will not work, says the Scottish Fishermens Federation (SFF).

It says that the conservation groups proposals for a network of marine protected areas in the North Sea, published today, are fundamentally flawed and other means of sustainable fishing will produce better results.

"The sweeping assumption is made that very large fixed marine protected areas would prove beneficial in the North Sea based on evidence gained from elsewhere. Such an assumption cannot safely be made, given the unique nature of the mixed fisheries in the North Sea," said Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of SFF.

He said the proposals fails to take into account the fact that humans have been an integral part of the marine ecosystem since Medieval times and have their place in the sustainable harvesting fish.

“Scottish fishermen have been at the forefront of developing a wide variety of measures for the sustainable harvesting of fish stocks and we are now reaping the benefits of this," he added.

SFF says that introducing marine protected areas on the scale proposed by WWF would devastate Scottish fishing and affect supplies to consumers.