11th April '23

SFF Rejects Misleading Statistics from Our Seas Coalition

Responding to a poll published by the Our Seas Coalition today Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “Yet again, Our Seas has shown that it prefers misleading people about the state of Scotland’s seas and attacking fishermen and coastal communities to making a meaningful contribution to the discussion about HPMAs.

“Firstly, the idea that fishermen do not care about the marine environment is disgraceful – without healthy seas and fish stocks the mostly family-owned businesses that comprise our industry would be out of work.

“The Scottish Government’s national performance indicators show that almost 70 per cent of key commercial species are fished at sustainable levels, illustrating that our seas and fish stocks are well managed.

“Secondly, trawling and dredging does not take place everywhere. Dredging only takes place about 16 per cent of inshore waters, where seabed and conditions are suitable and it’s already the case that trawling is not permitted in more than a third of Scottish waters to protect particularly sensitive seabed habitats and features, not the five per cent implied by Our Seas.

“We have an extensive network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) where evidence-based conservation measures co-exist with sustainable harvesting.

“That is the right approach, not the proposed HPMAs which are driven by politics rather than ecology, and are poorly founded, lack evidence of need and have no clarity about what they aim to achieve.

“Finally, in the SFF’s own polling of 2,010 people by JL Partners late last year, 78 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement ‘Governments should ensure that fishing communities are not squeezed out of our increasingly crowded seas’, while just four per cent disagreed.

“Most people also believe that low-carbon, high-protein food such as wild caught fish should be protected and nurtured to help with food security – with 76 per cent agreeing and again just four per cent disagreeing.”

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