The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

            A charity registered in Scotland - RegNo:: SC039015

29
Nov

Cuts in days at sea

The EC plans to slash the number of days that the prawn fleet can stay at sea.

The EC plans for next year would see days at sea in the N. Sea cut by 10%, and by 25% in the small mesh 70-90mm fisheries in the key West Coast grounds.

The European Commission has proposed cuts of 25 per cent in days at sea for the West of Scotland and 10 per cent in the North Sea for their respective Nephrops fisheries ahead of the December Fisheries Council meeting.

Richard Lochhead has said “….the proposed cuts in days at sea are a predictable negotiating tactic which we shall strongly resist ….. we need to give our fishermen a just reward for all their sacrifices and contributions to conserving fish stocks, whereas these proposals could force some of them out of work. “

This would be OK if other countries who make minimal conservation efforts, eg: Spain were to be strongly penalised, however, all that will happen is that the overall effort will continue to increase and next year even more stocks will be in a precarious situation.

Mr Lochhead went on to say ” …..we are continuing to work with our industry and environmental groups to develop more effective ways to protect and nurture our stocks - rather than the crude sledgehammer of cuts in days at sea.”

Strong political will rather than rhetoric is necessary to stop the annual destruction of the juvenile fish stocks in the Clyde or the 500+ million fish which are discarded annually in Scottish waters.

Unsurprisingly Bertie Armstrong is not impressed and Mike Park of the SWFPA found the plans unacceptable, saying “…. Most vessels now avoid cod yet the Commission still appear to be applying a retrospective philosophy to the small mesh fisheries.”

Perhaps that’s because of those millions of juvenile fish they kill every year.

And added “…..What the Commission appear to be doing is asking people to change custom and practice without offering any incentives to do so.”

Which seems to be the nub of it.

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