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Scottish fishermen 'the greenest in Europe'


SCOTLAND'S fishermen are the most environmentally friendly in Europe, according to both conservationists and Scotland's Environment Secretary.

The fleet has voluntarily chosen to trial measures such as temporary closures of areas of the sea where too many young fish are being caught and having observers on board to monitor levels of discards, fish thrown back because of quotas or to make way for a more profitable catch.

In the north-east Atlantic 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 dumped.

Under the Common Fisheries Policy, quotas have been used to limit catches of different species. However, because a boat targetting one species will often catch another as well, the resulting fish often must be dumped.

But Scotland's fishing fleet is said to be leading Europe in terms of introducing more sustainable fishing practices.

Helen McLachlan, senior marine policy officer at WWF Scotland, said:

"Here in Scotland, the fishermen are championing a lot of the measures we'd like to see in place," she said.

"What really has to happen is to go from that being a voluntary Scottish measure to being adopted at a European-wide level."

And Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Environment Secretary, also praised the Scottish fishing fleet. He said: "I am heartened and indeed bowled over by the transformation of attitude that is occurring in our fishing industry in Scotland.

Our fishermen are the most conservation-minded fleet."

Scottish fishermen want the system to be changed so less fish are wasted. Duncan MacInnes, of the Western Isles Fishermen's Association, said limiting days at sea would be a better way to regulate the industry along with measures to avoid catching species at particular risk.

"Discarding X amount of your catch is of no benefit to anyone. If we were allowed to go to sea for X amount of days and allowed to land everything we caught, that would be more beneficial for the catch, the scientists and for the sea," he said.

"The fishing industry has sustained many of the Western Isles communities for generations and with sensible sustainable management , I'm pretty confident it will sustain those communities for generations to come."

Jimmy Buchan, the skipper of the Peterhead prawn trawler Amity II and one of the stars of the two BBC Trawlermen series, agreed. "They've stamped out black fish [illegally landed fish], but only in their backyard. If I'm having to dump fish at sea, to me that's still black fish. They are both a crime," he said.

"I think [it should be] probably controlled by days at sea, but I don't think we should be dumping fish. I think that's criminal. I think all marketable fish should be kept and retained."


THE Scotsman has launched a campaign to protect our precious marine life. We want:

A network of marine reserves and protected areas to be created to safeguard properly sites such as St Kilda and the Sound of Mull

A system of marine planning, effectively zoning areas for appropriate use, to safeguard important fishing grounds from offshore wind farms and other developments and allow humans to exploit the seas in the most sustainable way

A single marine management organisation to administer this system

Scotland to be given control of conservation to the 200-mile boundary with international waters. Scotland is now in control out to 12 miles and the UK government beyond that

Scientists dream of doing great things--Marine engineers just do it!!

-- Edited by Rabbie Downunder at 23:17, 2007-11-05

-- Edited by Rabbie Downunder at 23:21, 2007-11-05


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Can't you find some organisation to make this sort of ideal known in ossieland, Send a copy to the ABC.
i don't quite understand the term dumping - would they be dead by then? In that case NO DUMPING but a fine of half the price paid if they were over quota, to discourage

Jane R Nauta

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i wonder how this compares with Aussie practice, what about sending it to the ABC?
Is dumping concerned with fish already dead.  Then NO DUMPING .  If they were going to dump because they were over quota then their next quota could be reduced or they could pay a fine of only half the profit on the excess.

Jane R Nauta

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Jane, Dumping is throwing back in to the sea the fish that are either non preferred, too small or off quota, in Victorian waters about 40% of the catch is "dumped" at certain times of the year, once again GREED plays a big part, things are improving but very slowly, one disgusting thing that Asian fishermen do by the hundreds of tonnes is catching sharks and while they are alive they cut all the fins off and throw the poor shark overboard to die a slow death, all for the supply of sharks fin soup.

-- Edited by Rabbie Downunder at 13:40, 2007-11-09


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