The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

Fish for the Future

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Code of Practice - Tope

June 20th, 2007 · No Comments

Save Our Sharks have released a Code of Best Practice for tope fishing, which has been approved by the NFSA, SACN, SFSA, Shark Trust and the UK shark tagging program.

In summary it outlines that whilst tope may look big and tough creatures they are actually quite delicate especially when out of the water.

The Code has been written so that any angler conversant with it can enjoy their tope angling secure in the knowledge that if they follow it they will cause the minimum of damage they are lucky enough to encounter.

Key points it reinforces are that a gut hooked fish is generally down to bad angling practice and may be avoided by striking early, and that releasing a tope at the side of the boat is the preferred method.

The full code may be found here

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Scottish Marine Wildlife watching code

June 20th, 2007 · No Comments

Scotland has a long and varied coastline with a wealth of marine wildlife. It is arguably the best place in Europe to watch whales, dolphins and porpoises. The basking shark – the second largest fish in the world – can often be seen feeding off the west coast in summer.

The Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code is designed for all those who watch marine wildlife around Scotland – whether they are on the shore or at sea. It is not a law or regulation – its over-riding purpose is to raise awareness and offer practical guidance.

The Code will:

  • Help you to enjoy watching marine wildlife.
  • Improve your chance of seeing wildlife.
  • Help minimise disturbance to marine wildlife.
  • Provide a standard for the wildlife watching industry.
  • Help you to stay within the law.

For further details click here

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Belgian Beamer fined £20,000 for illegal fishing

May 10th, 2007 · No Comments

A Belgian beam trawler which used ‘blinders’ - illegal linings in her trawl nets - to catch illegal undersized fish which were then kept, was forced to tie up four days while the skipper and owner faced prosecution by the Marine and Fisheries Agency.

The skipper and owner of Belgian Beam trawler De Marie Louise both pleaded guilty to fishing illegally in the North Sea , at North Shields Magistrates court on Tuesday May 8th.

They also discovered over 4,000 illegal under-sized sole, headed skinned and frozen, which had been retained. Catches of plaice and skate had been under recorded in the ship’s fishing log book.

Marc Morbee (cor), and owners BVBA Rederij De Marie (cor), both of Belgium, were fined £5,000 each for retaining undersized sole; £3,000 each for the illegal net attachments;£150 each for under recording plaice and skate, costs of £2,330 each, making a total in fines and costs of £20, 960.

Further details here.

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Catch ten fish - dump nine !!

March 29th, 2007 · No Comments

Fishermen across Europe are to be banned from dumping billions of dead fish back into the sea in a move by Brussels designed to put an end to the “morally wrong” waste of sea life.

The change comes after an admission that EU fishing policy was doing more damage than good among the fragile stocks of the North Atlantic, where 1.3 million tonnes of fish, or 13 per cent of the catch, are thrown back every year. In the North Sea, between 500,000 and 880,000 tonnes of fish are discarded.

See the Times Online For further details

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Climate Change and Scottish Fisheries

November 1st, 2006 · No Comments

This review was conducted for the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), by Fisheries Research Services and was stimulated by the growing realization that human induced global warming may now be affecting the fishing grounds Scottish fishermen exploit.

The topic of the impact of climate change on fish stocks, and hence commercial fisheries, is a complex one - this review attempts a simple summary of some of the key findings to date, and places them into context for the Scottish fishing industry.

It is written for fishermen and avoids too much scientific terminology - it’s a well recommended read.  Get it from here

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Joined-up Government 1

April 6th, 2006 · No Comments

UK vessels took over 80% of the North Sea Nephrops quota in 2005, a minimum mesh size of 80mm being allowed for both single and twin rig trawlers.

Consider though, that from 1999-2001 there had been a gradual move in the Scottish fleet towards a larger mesh size in the mixed nephrops / whitefish fishery, some vessels using 100 mm or more in this fishery to reduce discards.

However, from 1 February 2003 a new days-at-sea regulation awarded 16 more
days at sea per month to vessels using nets with mesh sizes from 80-99 mm (25 days) compared to those with mesh sizes of 100 mm or more (9 days).

Flying in the face of common-sense did nothing to help reduce the significant discards of juvenile whitefish such as cod, saithe, haddock and whiting with over 300,000,000 fish being discarded anually.

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