Scottish commercials damaging Indian Ocean stocks

krossfjord fishing vesselThe Sunday Herald has revealed that at least five vessels registered in Scotland have been licensed to fish in the Indian Ocean and off the northwest African coast.

More than 700 vessels from European Union (EU) countries are fishing seas outwith the EU, mostly from Spain, France and Portugal,  but they also include vessels registered in the UK, five of them in Scotland.  The owners are facing criticisms that they are plundering foreign seas, damaging local fishing industries and threatening fish stocks.

According to Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association : “If the EU stops fishing there, its place will be taken by countries with no sustainability scruples like China and Russia”.

A somewhat disingenuous answer given the  numbers of pelagic fishermen in court in the past few years for exceeding their quotas and/or blackfish landings.

The Scottish Government pointed out EU agreements help countries develop sustainable fishing industries.

Again a very difficult point to accept given the state of EU stocks in general and the Clyde in particular.

“It will surprise many people to learn that Scottish-registered boats, along with others from across Europe, are catching fish as far away as Morocco and the Indian Ocean,” said Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland.

Fishsubsidy.org, a group that campaigns against secret subsidies, is preparing a report on “under-the-radar” EU fishing agreements. “We’re concerned that there are few safeguards to ensure European vessels do not further plunder unsustainable fish stocks,” said the group’s Jack Thurston.

But fishing off northwest Africa was defended by 

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