Fishers Renew Scientific Debate At Newcastle Session –

Fishers Renew Scientific Debate At Newcastle Session Fishing Monthly Published:  19 February, 2003

THE Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said tonight that a meeting in Newcastle tomorrow under the umbrella of the North Sea Commission and involving North Sea fishermen’s associations and fisheries scientists will mark a first step in rebuilding the relationship which is important in developing a more comprehensive approach to stock assessment based on modern scientific practice.

Federation Chief Executive, Hamish Morrison, said:“For the past two months a vigorous and necessary campaign to achieve justice for the fishing industry has been conducted in public, politics and the media. That campaign must continue if a more favourable atmosphere is to be developed so that the Industry’s case may be more widely understood.

“Alas, however, that campaign cannot be enough. The root of the Industry’s predicament lies in the scientific analysis which, literally interpreted, would deny any future to the white fish sector. This scientific analysis is flawed in many respects. Much of the basic data on which it is founded are incomplete and out of date. The mathematical model which generates assessments and predictions is outmoded and does not fully comprehend the complex interactions that take place within the marine ecosystem. The recommendations made from the analysis are counter intuitive since they seek to follow the only major stock regeneration programme in the North Atlantic which has failed completely (Grand Banks, Canada).

“It is only by working more closely with the Fishing Industry that these substantial deficiencies in the scientific process can be corrected.”