The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has demanded that the Marine Conservation Society retract its misleading comments about North Sea and West of Scotland haddock stocks.

The organisation reacted angrily to the MCS’s “downgrade” of haddock in its latest consumer guide, insisting that the fishery is well-managed at sustainable levels.

SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “The MCS has completely misunderstood the position as far as haddock stocks are concerned and should withdraw its utterly misleading comments.

“The organisation is trying to alter consumer behaviour on completely false premises and should desist at once.

“Fish stocks are sustainable when the amount of fish caught is below the maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

“For haddock that has been the case since 2007 – and only last year advice from fisheries scientists at the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) was for an increase in the catch of 30%.

“They then discovered that there had been an error in their assessments, corrected the statistical model and recommended a reduction in the catch of 45%, which was adopted.

“As a result, the fishery continues to be managed at sustainable levels, and the spawning stock for haddock will increase significantly next year.”