Scottish stocks data deficient

| February 22, 2012

More than half of the main species landed by Scottish whitefish vessels come from stocks that are ‘data deficient’, according to a review carried out by the NAFC Marine Centre.

Data-deficient fish stocks are those for which the data needed to carry out a scientific assessment are not available. The review found that of the 20 principal species landed by Scottish whitefish vessels, 12 were classed as ‘data-deficient’, 14 had no scientific assessment, and 16 had no defined reference points (used to help judge the state of the stock). The Scottish fleet landed some £40 million worth of fish from ‘data-deficient’ stocks in 2010, one third of the value of all their landings.

NAFC Senior Marine Policy Advisor Dr Ian Napier, who carried out the review, which is available on the NAFC Marine Centre website, commented: “The review has revealed the magnitude of the problem of ‘data-deficient’ stocks. While everybody accepts that fisheries management should be based on sound science, the fact is that the necessary information is not available for many of the most important species caught be Scottish fishing vessels.”

Species which are classed as ‘data-deficient’ include: monks, megrim, ling and lemon sole, while whiting and hake lack reference points.

So after all this time, fisheries management continues without any real understanding of the damage being done to stocks, and why ? because it enables politicians to say such as ‘there is no proof that …..’ even when all can see many stocks are severely depleted.

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