The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

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Commercials fight discard reductions

Mike Park, the executive chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association, warned that the UK must not become the unwilling pawns in EU moves to satisfy Norway over by-catch levels.

Against the background of a call for an 80% reduction in the North Sea whiting TAC, Norway needs the Community to demonstrate a discard reduction of whiting. Park fears the Commission may go ‘broad brush’  and apply measures to all sectors of the fleet including those who do not discard a lot of whiting.

The biggest concerns are over the nephrops fisheries which really comes as no surprise; the west coast Scotland nephrops fishery is incredibly destructive and whiting make up the bulk of the discards, so much so that all but juvenile white fish stocks in the Clyde have been wiped out.

Park calls for a standard mesh for whiting to be used throughout the North Sea as at present a smaller mesh was being used in English than Scottish waters.

We feel he needs to look closer to home when talking about smaller mesh sizes in fisheries in general and the bycatch levels in nephrops fisheries in particular.

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