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Scotland's Sustainable Stocks Plan Demonstrated

SCOTLAND - Scotland's efforts to protect fish stocks are championed in Europe as the Cabinet Secretary addresses World Wildlife Fund (WWF) event on sustainable fisheries.

Scotlands innovative approach to ensuring the fishing industry and marine environment have a sustainable future is being taken to Europe today (27 July).

At an event organised by WWF in Gdynia, Poland, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead MSP, will address an audience of European politicians, fisheries managers, industry stakeholders and scientists to share Scotlands experience in developing the ground-breaking Scottish Conservation Credit Scheme (SCCS).

Poland took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union on the first of July and this event comes two weeks after the European Commission published its proposals on reforming the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The event will examine the challenges of fisheries management and how to address them successfully under the current reform of the CFP.

Within the SCCS, Scotland has already embraced a number of the changes necessary to help secure a future for fish stocks and the communities that rely upon them.

The objective now is to encourage similar changes in other countries in the way fisheries decisions are taken and for Scotland to continue to build on the progress made so far.

A short film, produced by WWF Scotland, will be shown ahead of Mr Lochheads speech which looks back at the formation of the Scottish Conservation Credits Steering Group and features interviews with members of the fishing industry, Scottish Government, NGOs and media.

Dr Mireille Thom, Marine Policy Officer at WWF Scotland said: We are showing here in Scotland that it is possible for fishermen, industry, NGOs and governments to share a common vision and to work together with scientists to secure a sustainable future for our seas."

"We want to encourage our European partners to believe that change is possible if there is a shared determination to engage on a common objective. Greater local control and responsibility is key to reversing the current top-down micro-management policy that has led to the disastrous decline and damage that we all know."

"Long term objectives should be set at European level with regional stakeholders being responsible for ensuring their delivery. This is the message we want to take to Fisheries Ministers and MEPs."

Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said: Europe's fisheries are at a crossroads and the decisions taken in the next eighteen months will determine to what extent we can save Europe's fish stocks, safeguard fragile fishing communities and protect a precious food resource."

"In Scotland we have developed ground-breaking initiatives that encourage sustainable fishing practices by our fishermen and emphasise the benefits of incentives rather than simply penalties. The SCCS is an example of a win-win situation for the fish stocks and the fishing industry. Under this approach, our vessels use more selective fishing gear to avoid catching undersized and unwanted fish in the first place and in return can spend extra time at sea."

We have only been able to achieve this success through government, industry and environmentalists working closely together, cooperating as partners with a common goal. At a time when radical reforms to EU fisheries policy are being proposed we need a bottom up approach, not one dictated from the top."

"I believe that Scotlands approach can be a template for implementing effective changes on a decentralised basis to fisheries policy across Europe.

the Fish Site Editor

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