Fish stocks report is "scaremongering" –

Fish stocks report is “scaremongering” Published:  03 November, 2006

THE Scottish National Party’s Shadow Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead today labelled a Science magazine report warning that fish stocks could collapse within 50 years if commercial fishing is not curbed as “alarmist scaremongering.” But the Soil Association said the findings must be listened to and were simply proof of an ongoing scandal.

Speaking before meeting with members of the fishing

industry at a pre-arranged meeting in Buckie,Scottish nationalist fisheries spokesman Mr Lochhead said:

“This report is alarmist scaremongering that is largely irrelevant to

Scottish waters where the vast majority of stocks are booming and some

are even at record levels.

“Of the key stocks in our waters, the situation facing North Sea cod

is by far the exception rather than the rule. The reason why cod

stocks have changed has yet to be identified although global warming

is now being seen as a major influence on that particular stock and

fishermen can’t exactly be blamed for that. However, it is encouraging

that fishermen are now reporting an increase in cod stocks.”

But Hugh Raven, Director of Soil Association Scotland, said that the gloomy report showed that wholesale damage to stocks was continuing.

“This heavy weight research is further confirmation, if any were needed, of the unsustainable plundering of the world’s oceans in the desperate search to meet human demand for fish.

“Pressure must be reduced on wild fish stocks; one obvious way to do so is to ensure the sustainable development of aquaculture and fish farming. The critical state of the majority of the world’s commercial wild fisheries was a key reason that the Soil Association decided to engage with and develop organic standards for aquaculture.

“Feed for our organically farmed fish must come only from the off-cuts of fish already caught for human consumption – recycling these wastes removes any direct pressure on wild fish stocks to feed organic fish. We have also established a unique partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to ensure that by 2010 all our feed comes only from sustainable fisheries independently certified by the MSC.”

Peter Melchett, Soil Association Policy Director said,

” The decrease in stocks of the world’s fisheries coincides with increasing nutritional advice that our diet should contain more fish. The Soil Association has been at the centre of resolving this environmental and nutritional dilemma. Our work promoting healthier school meals, recognises the value of fish as part of a healthy diet – but is acutely conscious of the need to balance nutritional needs within sustainability limits.

“That’s why our recommendations, endorsed by the government’s Sustainable Development Commission and the National Consumer Council, propose that provision of fish in school meals, should shift from endangered ‘white’ (cod, haddock etc.) to oily fish (mackerel, salmon); be on the menu only once every three weeks, and come from a verifiably sustainable fishery or farmed source. Such an approach ensures there can be a double-dividend benefiting both human and planetary health.” 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.