Skate producers to protect their interests

White skate Raja albaA British Skate Processors’ Association is being formed to try to protect skate sector interests.

Andrew Charles, owner of Aberdeen processing firm J. Charles, said the Marine Conservation Society had “crossed the line” in its policy of backing the removal of skate from supermarket shelves on the grounds it is an “endangered” species.

Sainsbury’s has pledged to stop selling “endangered” fish in a drive to save dwindling fish stocks; skate and huss are being taken off the shelves in Sainsbury’s stores.

The first step for the supermarket is to remove “endangered” fish from their counters, starting with skate – the first of the big four supermarkets to take this action – and huss.

MCS Fisheries Officer said this week that the MCS is very encouraged by Sainsbury’s decision to remove “highly vulnerable” species such as skate and huss from its counters and by their plans to phase out the sale of their remaining fish from unsustainable sources.

However Mr Charles said that skate producers were now moving to try to defend themselves against consumer policy based on insufficient science and subjective judgements and that he felt that there was not enough scientific work being done to establish the facts.

He also trotted out the hackneyed phrase that a ban on skate purchases would simply men skate being discarded at sea, given that it was inevitably netted with other species. It would seem the commercial sector just don’t get it – they have to stop depleting ‘at risk’ species otherwise there’ll soon be no fish for anyone.

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