Balance must be struck on cod recovery, say fisheries leaders –

Balance must be struck on cod recovery, say fisheries leaders Published:  17 July, 2007

Mike Park

A DELEGATION of Scottish fishermen and fisheries leaders today met EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg’s officials and Commission staff, to discuss North Sea cod.

The delegation, led by Mike Park, Executive Chairman of the Scottish Whitefish Producers Association (SWFPA), requested the meeting to enable fishermen and officials to have a frank exchange of views on the North Sea cod situation.

Scottish representatives were heartened by the response of the Commission, which was of understanding and a commitment to strike a balance. Mr Park said: “Today we told representatives from the Commissioner’s Cabinet and Commission officials, a story of the heartening signs of renewed cod abundance in the North Sea; a good news story that Scottish fishermen are anxious for people to hear.”

“We emphasised that we are eager to continue playing a pivotal role in the continued recovery of cod, and understand the need to strike a balance between resource and opportunity. We had a good hearing and hope that some of the messages we delivered will help shape the Commissioner’s approach to cod recovery between now and the end of the year,” he added.

“We want officials to understand that what the scientific community is predicting in respect of cod recovery, is exactly what fishermen are now finding at sea. We have to find a way to manage cod away from the theatre of politics, and we hope this is the start of that process.”

Ian Harcus, skipper of the Orkney based Trawler Alskere, explained that fishermen are frustrated by stories in the media stating that North Sea cod is finished, yet fishermen’s findings at sea are completely at odds with this. “We want common sense to prevail from now on and hope that we can all start dealing with the facts rather than with rhetoric,” he stated. “We had a good meeting, and I am confident the Commission is now better informed to strike the right balance.”

The delegation comprised:

· Mike Park, Scottish Whitefish Producers Association

· John Buchan, Scottish Whitefish Producers Association

· Ian Harcus, Orkney Fishermen’s Association

· Leslie Tait, Shetland Fishermen’s Association is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.