Scottish fishermen commit to innovation
By SeafoodSource staff
07 June, 2012
Scottish prawn fishermen are taking a proactive approach to reducing bycatch by developing and introducing a number of innovative trawl designs, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) announced on Thursday.
SFF CEO Bertie Armstrong and Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead will be promoting the latest innovations at Skipper Expo International in Aberdeen on Friday.
Already, one of the trawls — dubbed the “flip-flap” trawl — has been approved by the European Commission’s advisory scientific and technical committee. It was designed by Gamrie Bay Prawn Trawls and features an inclined panel inside the trawl with a loose flap at the bottom. The majority of cod and other roundfish are directed up the panel and out through an escape hole at the top of the net, while prawns move along the bottom section and into the back of the trawl. Another trawl has just been endorsed by Marine Scotland, with more currently undergoing assessment.
Scottish prawn fishermen are fed up with the bureaucracy of the EC and the implementation of “totally inappropriate” regulations, so they’re taking it upon themselves to be proactive and innovate, according to the SFF.
“Essentially, we have developed a ‘bottom up’ approach to fisheries management, where we produce the ideas and the innovation for the EC to accept, rather than the other way around,” said Armstrong.
“The outcome of last December’s Fish Council was shocking and showed the complete lack of understanding at the highest levels about the technical complexities of fishing,” he added. “But rather than just complain loudly while watching the industry suffer serious damage, the Scottish prawn catching sector got together and forged an agreement to develop new types of highly selective gear across all those parts of the industry where discarding problems existed. It was a case of fishermen taking things into their own hands in the face of inflexible micro-management and bad decision-making from Europe that was killing our industry and doing little for stock conservation.
“This idea of developing highly selective gear for fisheries with a discard problem is being embraced by the Scottish Government, whose support is vital to ensure that the new measures can be accepted into local regulations, as well as for conducting dialogue with the EC to ensure full endorsement.”
07 June, 2012