The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

Fish for the Future

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Scottish public support restrictions on commercial fishing

September 7th, 2007 · No Comments

THE Scottish public would support restrictions on commercial fishing if it was necessary to protect marine ecology, a new survey has revealed.

The poll was commissioned by the Wildlife Trust to examine public attitudes to our coastal waters. It found that a majority of Scots questioned - 87 per cent - placed the conservation of sea life over commercial fishing, and supported the imposition of restrictions on where it could take place.

It will come as no surprise to sea anglers that more than two-thirds of the people questioned thought there are fewer fish in the sea than 20 years ago.

Dr Becky Boyd, marine policy officer for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said the survey was “unexpectedly positive” and that she thought it was an important message given our current political situation in Scotland.

The key question is of course, will the Scottish Government listen or will they continue to turn a blind eye to the practices which have brought west coast fish stocks almost to the verge of extinction.?

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The wastefulness of modern commercial fishing

September 1st, 2007 · No Comments

A study by Government scientists into discards in British waters has found that almost two thirds of the fish caught are thrown back over the side dead.

It is estimated that over 60 million fish per year are discarded in the English Channel, Western Approaches, Celtic and Irish Seas; over 500 million in waters around Scotland and up to 800,000 tons or 2+ Billion fish a year in all EU waters.

Many discards are from threatened species such as cod and plaice, that might otherwise have grown to maturity.

The fishing industry got wind of this paper about six months ago and have been going into damage control ever since.

Is this why the Scottish industry has introduced its’ proposals for ‘real-time’ closures where high levels of juvenile fish, particularly cod, are encountered ?

For further detail have a look here

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Nice try on Arran, but still nothing but mackerel

September 1st, 2007 · No Comments

Seven boats took part in a boat fishing competition on 1st Sept 2007 despite fish stocks being very low.

Entrants from all over Arran had large catches of mackerel but because there were very few cod and ling caught they were unable to award the original prizes for heaviest bag, biggest cod, biggest ling, best flatfish and most variety.

The organisers said: ‘There just isn’t the same numbers of fish to catch. We all caught a lot of mackerel but nothing much else.

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Is This Showing Responsible Leadership ?

August 28th, 2007 · No Comments

Mrs Stevenson, President of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, is appealing against her conviction for her involvement as one of 17 Newlyn skippers, owners and agents who have been convicted of involvement in a scheme to land so-called “black fish” - fish that under the EU quota system they were not entitled to bring back to port.

Their defence “..We knew we were doing wrong. But it wasn’t done with greed. It was done to make a living.. .. It was either land fish at the back door or pack it all in”. A defence that never seems to work in any other walk of life.

One can sympathise with individuals losing their living, or those making genuine mistakes, but this wasn’t an isolated incident, Defra had gathered evidence over 5 years, but in this case I believe it was greed.

Given her position, it does lead one to question the sincerity of NFFO when it consistently claims to be concerned with the sustainability of stocks.

More on the story here

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World Trade Organisation to propose new fishing rules

August 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

Fish are disappearing from the oceans because of massive overfishing by rich countries, fueled by billions in subsidies every year. It’s unfair trade, and it’s killing the oceans.

Already, 90% of big fish like tuna and marlin are gone. If nothing changes, many fish populations will collapse beyond recovery-destroying ecosystems and harming those who rely on fish as their main source of protein.

Next month, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will come forward with a new proposal for global fishing rules. This month, the WTO is talking to finance ministers around the world about what those rules should be. That gives us a critical window to make a stand-to tell our trade ministers to oppose the subsidized overfishing and support fairness and sustainability for generations to come.

The WTO invite you to email your Trade Minister to support them.

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New laws to protect animals and habitats

August 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

Tougher laws to protect animals and their habitats come into force this week.

Britain has strengthened legislation through the Habitats Regulations and new Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations to fall into line with EU laws.

Dolphins, marine turtles and otters are included on the list of European Protected Species who will benefit.

The new laws mean that offenders will no longer be able to claim incidental damage as a defence if they are prosecuted.

The new Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations will extend protection to marine species, wild birds and habitats out to 200 nautical miles. A number of Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas in the offshore area will be identified and protected.

Jon Abbatt of ADAS, said: ” People need to be aware of these changes. No longer will it prove an adequate defence to suggest that damage to any European protected species or their habitat was accidental, or due to lack of knowledge of the existence of a species on a specific site.”

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ARA Freezes assets in Kilkeel Black Fish Case

August 17th, 2007 · No Comments

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), working in partnership with the Marine and Fisheries Agency (MFA), an executive agency of Defra, has successfully obtained restraint orders effectively freezing property in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, held by three men convicted of landing fish stocks in excess of their permitted quota.

The restrained property includes assets identified as belonging to Charles Leslie McBride, Charles Hubert McBride, Leslie Clifford Girvan and two fish selling companies: McBride Fishing Company, of which the McBrides are joint Directors and Kilkeel Fish Selling Company, of which Girvan is Director.

More details from here

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Supporting Shark Conservation - Ecuador

August 14th, 2007 · No Comments

Shark finning, the wasteful practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea, is one of the most barbaric practices in commercial fishing.

It is officially banned in Europe, but in the UK, commercial fishermen can obtain a special permit to do it, by just phoning up and asking for one.

Ecuador has some of the strongest protection measures for sharks in the world. It is one of the very few countries to ban targeted shark fishing and one of about 20 to ban finning, however, they have now legalized the sale of fins of sharks caught accidentally.

As there is no clear way to determine whether a shark was caught accidentally or intentionally, commercial interests appear to regard this as a green light to kill as many sharks as they want in Ecuador’s waters, and sell the fins while they can.

As we see strong worldwide opposition to finning to be an essential lever to get the UK to ban finning entirely, today we endorsed a letter to President Correa of Ecuador, asking him to try to ensure no targeted shark fishing takes place in the waters around the Galapogos and that the trading in shark fins should be subject to strict enforcement measures.

The full letter may be read here

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Annan based trawlers guilty of ‘black fishing’

August 5th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Extracted from the Sunday Mail of 05/08/07

TN Trawlers based in Annan fish the Solway Firth and the south of England were targeted as part of a crackdown on ‘black fishing’ between Jan 04 and July 05.

TN Trawlers, two fish merchants and six skippers admitted breaching the limits.

Chris Nicholson, of Annan, was fined £300 for faking catch reports; Raymond Strachan, of Sandhaven was fined £3200 plus £500 costs after eight charges relating to 43 fish landings; Edward Black, of Eaglesfield, was fined £2500 plus £500 costs after five charges relating to 10 landings; Steven Mundle, of Annan, was fined £1600 on four counts; David Patience, of Peterhead, was fined £400 for one offence and Gary Adams, of Castle Douglas £1000 on two counts.

TN Trawlers, Liverpool Bay Fishing Company and a fish merchant based in Brixham, south Devon, are to be sentenced in October. They all face having money seized. TN Trawlers have an annual turnover of £2.5 million.

Before new laws were introduced in 2005, up to a quarter of all fish landed in Scotland were illegal with the illicit cod market was valued at £20million.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), said: “If illegal catches are not controlled then there is an inducement for others to break the law.”

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