Responding to the launch of a report today (24 February) by WWF calling for onboard cameras and sensors to be fitted to fishing boats to ensure compliance with the discard ban, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said:

“The discard ban applied to mixed fisheries is less than two months old and is being applied progressively, starting with a small number of species in order to properly develop how the regulation is actually applied.

“There is active work going on across Europe and most especially in Scotland to progress this – for example to optimise selectivity in fishing gears.  This is where expenditure of money and effort is needed – not blanket CCTV aimed mainly at compliance.

“The WWF report rather misses the point.  Working in close co-operation with fisheries managers and scientists is the way to properly ensure compliance and it is disappointing that WWF’s first thought is policing rather than collaborative development.

“Cameras are already fitted to a number of Scots vessels, but this is for more aspirational reasons than compliance – and again is an illustration of a collaborative approach to fisheries management.  The discard ban for mixed fisheries is one of the biggest sea-changes in fisheries management that the industry has ever encountered and we are responding positively in its implementation.”