Environmentalists must recognise efforts made by Scottish fleet to ensure sustainable harvesting of fish Published: 19 May, 2010
The Scottish Fishermens Federation will tell environmentalists at a seminar at the Fishing 2010 exhibition in Glasgow that due recognition should be given to the huge sacrifices and effort made by the Scottish fishing industry to ensure that the fleet today is sustainably harvesting a renewable resource.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermens Federation, will also say that the balance may have now tipped too far the other way with much of the fleet currently fighting for survival because of the impossibly tight management restrictions imposed upon it.
The seminar at Fishing 2010 on Saturday 22 May will include a showing of the controversial film End of the Line made by environmental journalist and author Charles Clover, which portrays many of the worlds fish stocks as being in a parlous state. After the showing there will be a discussion session in front of an audience of fishermen hosted by a panel comprising Mr Clover, Bertie Armstrong of the Scottish Fishermens Federation, Louize Hill of WWF Scotland and Prof Callum Roberts of York University.
Speaking before the event, Mr Armstrong said: The doom laden scenario for fisheries as painted by many environmentalists such as Charles Clover is certainly not one that applies to Scotland. We have recognised there has been a problem and have acted responsibly, including engaging in dialogue with responsible environmental organisations such as WWF Scotland.
There is no denying that this has been a rocky road for us, but the Scottish fishing industry has been entirely open and transparent and has tackled the issues with a spirit of co-operation rather than confrontation.
We now have the situation where many environmentalists exaggerate the state of fish stocks based more on their own agendas and shaky science rather than true fact.
We also have a situation where much of the Scottish fishing fleet is fighting for survival because restrictive management measures have gone too far, and while stocks recover, fishing communities are facing a bleak future unless urgent action is taken by Government and EC to put in place a new management regime that recognises the efforts and sacrifices made by our industry.