Ban on destructive fishing will create jobs

selinkA switch to environmentally friendly forms of fishing could boost jobs in rural communities – and help preserve fragile eco-systems.

Scottish Environment Link, a coalition of charities, says the economic case for placing limits on bottom trawling in already protected areas is overwhelming.

The group’s marine taskforce has written to ministers as the Scottish Government looks at measures for managing fishing in specially designated Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

A report compiled by Environment Link says that if the Scottish Government ends the practice of towing heavy fishing gear, such as mechanical dredges and weighted trawl nets, across protected fragile seabed habitats, then there could be substantial knock-on benefits for local economies.

The practice destroys habitat such as coral and maerl beds which fish use to spawn, with their destruction having a knock-on effect on fisheries.

Until recently, there have been few attempts to halt seabed destruction – until the creation of a network of MPAs, where marine areas are allowed to recover and effectively re-seed adjacent areas.

MPAs offer these areas special levels of protection, but green groups want ministers to go further and completely ban damaging fishing practices, something the Scottish Government is due to rule on.

Environment Link’s report says such measures could potentially provide substantial benefits to coastal communities, for example by providing new opportunities for other forms of fishing and commercial marine activities.


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