Fisheries assessments are based on too many assumptions –

Fisheries assessments are based on too many assumptions Fishing Monthly Published:  31 October, 2003

FISH stock appraisals are based on too many assumptions, a fishermen’s spokesman claimed today.

George MacRae, secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association told the North-east Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership in Aberdeen that this underlined the need for closer links between scientists and fishermen to improve stock health reports.

He said :”We have got to pay attention to scientific opinion but we also have to be conscious as to how much complete reliance can be put on them.

“But you have to remember that these are largely based on assumptions.Obviously there is fact in there as well but you are also talking big and important assumptions being made.

“Correct informnation can only come through effective partnerships between fishermen and scientists.”

The fishing industry was showing the way with, for example its own cod recovery strategy produced with the help of independent scientists who said for example that the state of North Sea haddock was a success story.

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation President Alex Smith said he felt ICES scientists were over optimistic over the state of the North Sea saithe stock but too gloomy over possible problems ahead for North Sea haddock because of poor recruitment.

He had been a fishermen for 30 years and poor year classes always followed a good year class.

“Then all of a sudden you get a good year class out of the blue.”

Meanwhile, it was acknowledged that positive progress was being made in terms of cod recovery.