Fury grows over Russian haddock catch – Fishupdate.com

Fury grows over Russian haddock catch Fishing Monthly Published:  06 May, 2004

A LEADING fishermen’s grouping today, Thursday May 6th, joined condemnation of the haddock fishing activities of Russian trawlers in what are now international waters off Rockall to the West of Scotland.

Earlier this week, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation President Alex Smith, told Fishupdate that the haddock stock in the area was in danger of being wiped out as Russian vessels hoovered up significant quantities of undersized haddock in small mesh nets.

George MacRae, the secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association, said today that conservation groups, usually keen to criticise Scottish fishermen were strangely silent over this “disgraceful” activity.

He went on: “This situation flies in the face of the need to try to conserve stocks and have effective management policy.

” The Russian actions are deplorable and the lack of continuous lobbying by the Green lobby to have this stopped is also quite incredible.

” We realise the Russians are in international waters, but if the area where the Russians are fishing had not been switched to the international zone, we would have been able to deal with this.

“But as it is, there have been at least 13 Russian trawlers in there using industrial nets to destroy the haddock stock.”

If, as was the case, immature fish is being caught in what in effect is an industrial fishery, there is no prospect at all, he said, of any sensible planning for bringing white fish stocks to marketable size being successful.

He added: “This flies in the face of commonsense, but these activities have become a total disgrace, something which is only matched by the lack of support for stopping it from the conservation lobby, the same people who shout and bawl at the prospect of killing only one seal.”

He said there was clearly no fisheries mangement in a global sense “Unfortunately the Russians can act as they wish with total impunity and no one can say anything to them. It is a total obscenity what is happening and it will continue until such time as there is no fish left.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said today:”We take all allegations of illegal fishing seriously. The Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency have been patrolling the area in recent weeks and any evidence of infringments will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for action.”