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SFF Urges Govt To Act Now

Economics +1 more

SCOTLAND, UK - Thanks to recent publicity, including the Fish Fight TV coverage from campaigning chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, there cannot be a single person in the UK who does not now know that the rules governing fisheries are the cause of discarding, says Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermens Federation (SFF).

"You would, however, be harder pushed to find anyone with practical proposals that will actually work.

Speaking in response to Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead's call for the discards issue to be an agenda item at the January EU Fisheries Council meeting in Brussels, Mr Armstrong said: "At the moment all the Scottish Government eggs are in the one basket – the use of CCTV to limit fishing. This may indeed be part of a future solution, but as many problems are initially created as are solved.

“We are listening with great frustration to the discard problem being described in ever more strident terms, followed only by a single proposal for a defective and overly simple fix. The underlying problem is how can the system be changed to manage the complexities of mixed fisheries, so that when the quota for one species is taken up, fishermen can still catch the other species that swims with it so as to enable fishing to continue throughout the year.

“There is no magic wand solution to this complex and many faceted problem. The time for dramatic rhetoric is over. We need, right now, to soberly address the faults in the present system with a view to changing it rather than just complaining about it. We have a series of meetings coming up to do just that. We also have an election hoving into view in Scotland and the SFF will produce over the next few weeks a fishing manifesto on what the aspirations of the next Scottish Government should be. On discards, a big part of that will be a practical plan to deal with the problems of mixed fisheries. Politicians hoping for fisheries votes, take note."