Fisheries inspectorate target black fish landings –

Fisheries inspectorate target black fish landings Published:  25 September, 2003

A new focus on preventing the landing of black fish has been hailed as effective by the Scottish fisheries minister.

A new focus on targeting the illicit landing of over-quota fish throughout 2002-2003 by the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency has been effective, according to Ross Finnie, the Scottish fisheries minister.

The SFPA spent £15m last year on monitoring fishing activity in the waters round Scotland.

Finnie, speaking at the launch of the SSFI’s annual report, said: “The Scottish Executive recognises the importance of proper and effective monitoring of fishing activity and enforcement of fisheries legislation to conserve stocks for the long-term benefit of the industry and rural communities.”

Finnie said the agency had been successful in assisting in the prosecution of offenders. “An important aspect of the agency’s business involves processing cases for prosecution – the three associated targets were all well met.”

He continued: “The £15m spent annually on monitoring fishing activity and enforcement in waters around Scotland and in our ports represent less than 4% of the total value of fish landed into Scotland in 2002. As such, the work of the SFPA continues to be an important and very worthwhile investment of taxpayers’ money aimed at safeguarding the future of our fishing industry.”

The Scottish fisheries minister

The switch in emphasis towards deliberately looking for people infringing the rules on quotas was blamed for the Scottish Sea Fisheries Inspectorate missing two targets on activity levels.

The report states that this was “attributable to a diversion of enforcement effort from the routine monitoring of landings to less predictable and more random surveillance operations to provide a greater concentration on the prevention of blackfish landings.”