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SFF Calls for Action over Scottish Fishing Report

by the Fish Site Editor
09 September 2009, at 1:00am

SCOTLAND, UK - The release of a new study on the impact of the economic downturn and conservation measures on the fishing industry highlights the need for urgent action, the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) has warned.

The study was commissioned by the Scottish Government earlier this year to demonstrate to the European Commission the financial difficulties facing fishermen. Carried out by economists at industry authority Seafish, it looked at the current and future impacts on fleets of fuel and fish prices, quota reductions and restrictions on days at sea.

Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive said: Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive said: "This report itemises in a very stark manner the huge difficulties that the Scottish whitefish and prawn fleets are facing today, and into 2010 and beyond.

"With the exception of North Sea cod, TACs for almost all the main Scottish target species were cut this year; the economic situation is further compounded by rising fuel prices and, worst of all, the market has been awful. These factors, combined with further reductions in the number of days that boats are allowed to put to sea, are putting intolerable pressure on the Scottish fleet.

"Against this background, we are urgently calling upon the Scottish and UK Governments to champion the cause, with us, of achieving in the negotiations which start next month maximum sustainable catching opportunity for 2010. This must include avoidance of any further cuts in days at sea or the introduction of ill-fitting regulation, otherwise large sections of the fleet will face commercial disaster.

"It is also obvious now that to continue to meet the duty of sustainable harvesting of food from the sea, a fundamental look at the size and shape of the fleet is needed. Taken overall, the main Scottish target stocks are in relatively stable condition and there is a desperate need for the implementation of sensible measures that will safeguard the economic viability of the fleet and guarantee the future secure production of food from our waters. This year has been more than difficult so far and large sections of the industry will be unable to tolerate any worse outcome for next year and beyond."

the Fish Site Editor