AGREEMENT FOR 70 PER CENT DISCARDS CUT Published:  08 June, 2012

Scotland’s prawn fishermen will significantly cut their level of discarding, following agreement reached for the use of new fishing gear designs. Marine Scotland has worked closely with the fishing industry to develop new trawl and net design solutions, which are highly selective and help avoid catching unwanted species that prawn vessels do not have the quota to land.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland has led Europe with innovative measures to cut fish discards, which are such a shocking waste of a previous food resource. Despite the constraints of the flawed Common Fisheries Policy, we have pressed on with efforts to further reduce discards, in partnership with industry. “In Parliament, I commended the 130 prawn vessels which will be able to significantly cut discards levels following the adoption of highly selective fishing gear, to address the issue of unwanted by-catch. I strongly endorse this ambitious move – developed by fishermen for fishermen – which will cut discards by as much as 70 per cent. “Our fishermen should be applauded for taking action to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable fisheries, using their knowledge and experience to help develop workable solutions. This approach is night and day compared to the murky deals struck in Brussels, demonstrating why regional control must be a key priority for CFP reform. “Prawn fishermen will benefit from adopting these changes, by being able to claim back more fishing time and ensuring they can make a viable living throughout the year. I will highlight this achievement at the EU Fisheries Council on Tuesday, which demonstrates what close cooperation between national governments and fishermen themselves can achieve.” The highly selective fishing gear that is to be adopted by prawn vessels is designed to allow demersal fish species, such as cod and haddock, to escape even if they enter the mouth of the net, while still ensuring that prawns are retained. Richard Lochhead will attend the EU Fisheries Council in Luxembourg on Tuesday, where agreement on the reform priorities for the Common Fisheries Policy is expected to be reached. Find out more about Scotland’s priorities for the reform of the CFP: