How was it achieved ?
Marine Scotland has worked closely with the fishing industry to develop new trawl and net design solutions, which are highly selective and help avoid catching unwanted species that prawn vessels do not have the quota to land.
What took so long ?
For the last three decades prawn vessels in the Clyde haven’t really cared about discards – at their peak, there were 9kg of discards for every 1kg of prawn landed – the science was there all the time just the commitment from successive governments and the reactionary approach of the commercial sector prevented the significant change being made much earlier.
3,500 tonnes – that is the minimum estimate of fish thrown back into the Clyde as ‘by-catch’ and ‘discards’. The figures are from a 2007 survey of prawn trawling in the Clyde undertaken by the industry itself.
Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “In Parliament, I commended the 130 prawn vessels which will be able to significantly cut discards levels following the adoption of highly selective fishing gear, to address the issue of unwanted by-catch. I strongly endorse this ambitious move – developed by fishermen for fishermen – which will cut discards by as much as 70 per cent.
“Our fishermen should be applauded for taking action to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable fisheries, using their knowledge and experience to help develop workable solutions. This approach is night and day compared to the murky deals struck in Brussels, demonstrating why regional control must be a key priority for CFP reform.
For their total lack of proactive action to save the Clyde the management of inshore stocks should be handed over to professional managers rather than inept politicians and commercial fishermen with a vested interest in short term profits.
After all, these latest advances only came about as they were going to lose days at sea due to the cod bycatch.