Fischler Must Justify "Crude" Deepwater Deal –

Fischler Must Justify “Crude” Deepwater Deal Fishing Monthly Published:  21 June, 2002

George MacRae…demanding answers

A POWERFUL fishermen’s grouping has told EU fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler that a controversial deepwater species deal is based on raw, crude, political expediency.

Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association secretary George MacRae contends in a letter to the Commissioner that the association believes there is no credible scientific evidence in existence to justify a TAC system being set for the deepwater stocks.

And the conclusions, which had been drawn from scientific advice allegedly justifying the setting of a TAC for the deepwater fishery, had been taken from commercial landing data. But this was a dubious source as there has to date been no requirement to log deepwater species catches. In addition, a number of scientists had voiced concern that the deepwater fishery should in the immediate future be managed by TACs.

Meanwhile Mr. MacRae also formally requested Mr Fischler to explain his about face on the issue and immediately publish full details of the scientific evidence and advice on which this “outrageous” decision to approve a TAC regime was based.

Scottish nationalist shadow fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead has demanded answers from Scottish fisheries minister Ross Finnie on whether he plans to protest over the deal and whether it was supported by scientific evidence.

Mr Lochhead also wants to know what extra pressure will be put on demersal stocks by boats having to divert away from the deepwater grounds once the TAC regime is introduced and whether the Scottish Executive had any prior warning of the TAC deal.