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Regional Fisheries Management Needed Urgently


SCOTLAND, UK - The pressure is on to take away control of Scottish fisheries from Brussels and place them in a regional management structure, according a report released yesterday (4 November).

The Inquiry into the Future of Fisheries (IFM) was set up by the Scottish Government to look into the running of Scotland's fishing fleets.
It has called for Scotland to take the lead in establishing a pathfinder initiative with other member states to trial a devolved management model.

The inquiry also made clear that as the fishing community has a wealth of knowledge in sustainable practices, it is only right that it is given greater decision-making over the way in which the industry operates.

However, the report also warned that the Scottish fishing industry is likely to face greater uncertainty than at any time since the early 1980s, making the need for structural change even more urgent.

The recommendations in the report include:

  • continued Government support for an effective reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), specifically on the issue of regionalisation;

  • that pressure be put on the EU for meaningful measures to end discards;

  • Government and industry to work together to devise a pathfinder organisation towards de-centralisation and develop of long term management plans;

  • reduction in fishing to allow stocks to recover and ensure a stronger management of the marine eco-system as a whole;

  • the fishing industry to view fisheries within the wider context of integrated marine management and to devise a strategy on its contribution to the future of Scotland's marine environment; and

  • for all marine stakeholders to be subject to the same biological, economic and social standards.

Dr Mireille Thom, Marine Policy Officer at WWF Scotland said: "Scotland's fishing industry has made great efforts to improve its sustainability in recent years. However, it is clear from this report that without additional steps here and abroad, the industry faces an uncertain future.

"We welcome most of the findings of this report and many of the recommendations aimed at ensuring the future viability of the fishing industry in Scotland.

“There is no doubt that a key factor to achieving a sustainable future for Scotland's fisheries, as set out in this report, is a comprehensive reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. This will need to include regionalisation and long term management plans to encourage and strengthen compliance.

"As the report points out, scientists, industry and government must continue to work together to bring about the change necessary to deliver sustainable fisheries and healthy coastal communities. WWF is fully committed to continue to work with all parties that share this aim."

MSP Stewart Stevenson said: “The publication of this report lends significant weight to the many people who have been calling for fisheries to be taken out of Brussels control and managed on a regional basis. The report quite rightly refers to Scotland’s seas as the 'graveyard for the EU's attempt at management'.

“The inquiry has taken substantial amounts of evidence and clearly reached the conclusion that this is the only sensible way forward for the fishing industry.

“However, the report has also rightly pointed out that these are deeply uncertain times for the industry. Now that a clear path forward has been identified, the change that is needed must be agreed to as a matter of urgency.

“The SNP Government and our elected representatives in Europe will be pushing hard for these necessary changes to the CFP to take place. The wellbeing of Banff & Buchan’s fishing industry is at stake and we will do all that we can to secure a profitable, sustainable future for it.”