27th July 2012
Responding to the news that the Scottish Government is implementing urgent action to address high levels of prawn fishing in the West of Scotland, Alan Coghill, president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said:
“This is a problem directly related to the discredited Cod Plan which is meant to restrict the catching of cod but is being applied to a sector which has taken strenuous efforts this year to reduce discards of cod and other fish. Extensive gear trials have been undertaken involving industry and government which have succeeded in producing gears which have vastly reduced unwanted catches by the Scottish fleet.
“An acknowledgement of this positive achievement would be a transfer of effort from the North Sea where stocks appear to have declined from previous levels, to West of Scotland where stocks have improved after some disappointing years. The fleet has quota to catch and businesses to sustain resulting in the change of emphasis from East to West.
“The issue has also been aggravated by IT delays in the collation of information on the amount of current fishing effort for prawns on the west coast, which has initiated this sudden and unwelcome response. If the information had come to light earlier, than a more gradual approach of controls could have been adopted.
“The prawn sector is an incredibly important part of the Scottish fishing industry, which needs full backing at all levels. Policies and measures need to be in place to ensure that fishery can be worked in a proper fashion that enables businesses to plan ahead and fish profitably and sustainably. This patently has not happened in this instance.
“This situation underlines the need for both the UK and the Scottish government to vigorously restate the case for reviewing and amending the Cod Plan before the end of 2012. The present situation is a prime example of a regulatory process which does not work and is likely to cause major economic and social problems across the industry from net to plate.”
More information: Alan Coghill, tel: 07775586864.
Keith Broomfield, tel: 07890781151