Battle for prawns taken to Commission –

Battle for prawns taken to Commission Published:  29 September, 2005

SCOTTISH fishing industry leaders are taking their battle against any new restrictions in their North Sea prawn fishery to the European Commission.

George MacRae, the secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association, said that two meetings between industry representatives and the Commission were already planned for early October in advance of a meeting of white fish and prawn men at Fraserburgh.

The issue centres on the quantities of young cod being dumped in the Southern North Sea by fishermen using around the same size of mesh as is used in the main Scottish North Sea prawn fishery much further North.

The Scottish industry fear that to reduce damage to cod stocks in the Southern North Sea, the Commission might move to apply new restrictions applying to the whole of the North Sea, although there is only a minimal cod by-catch in the Scottish prawn fishery.

Mr MacRae said that the industry would be totally against any suggested reduction in fishing days for the prawn fleet.

And there was no need for this given that the Commission recognised that the Scottish fleet had met targets for cod effort reduction.

This was also recognised by the Scottish Executive and he went on:

“There is absolutely no justification for any discrimination against the Scottish fleet.

“We know there has been an enormous amount of cod being dumped in the Southern North Sea and we also know there is a year class of haddock which is coming on stream which is very encouraging for the future, Scientists say that this will make a significant contribution to the haddock stock, not perhaps as big as the 1999 year class, but still significant.”

Mr MacRae said there was no way that the much poorer adherence to cod conservation in the Southern North Sea should be translated to the whole of the North Seas.

“There is no doubt that something has to be done about dumping of codling but it has to be done in the Southern North Sea.

“The Commission has recognised that North of 57deg there is not a problem and we do not want them to try to justify the unjustifiable.

“Hitting our prawn fishery unfairly would be a disaster.” is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish European Fish Trader, Fishing Monthly, Fish Farming Today, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.