Scotland launches fish discard scheme
Scotland’s Fisheries Secretary on Monday announced an expansion to the country’s effort to reduce fish discards.
Under Scotland’s “catch quota” trials, all fish caught is allowed to be landed. Following successful trials in 2010 involving 17 Scottish vessels, an expanded 26 vessel scheme will be launched this month. As well as boats from the whitefish fleet in the North East of Scotland, skippers from across the country are taking part, including the West Coast, Orkney and Shetland.
Under catch quotas, vessels can land, rather than be forced to discard, an extra amount equal to 12 percent of the total allowable catch (TAC) for cod. To ensure there are no discards, the fishing practices of participating vessels is fully documented through on-board cameras. The Scottish government has provided GBP 400,000 for the purchase and installation of the new monitoring equipment.
“The scourge of fish discards is a practice enforced on our fishermen by Europe’s despised Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). However, even while working under this broken framework, we are determined to find innovative measures to reduce discards and support more sustainable fishing practices by the Scottish fleet,” said Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead. “We want to see our fishermen land all they catch and command a price for each fish — in return for taking less out of the sea in the first place. While catch quotas alone do not provide all the answers, it offers an important first step and provides the basis for more sustainable solutions in the future; 2011 is a critical year as we look to influence negotiations on the future of the CFP. The success of the catch quota trials can only strengthen our position, as Scotland demonstrates it can lead the way within the EU toward sustainable and discard-free fisheries.”