Scottish industry should be proud of progress on sustainability, says SFF – Fishupdate.com

Scottish industry should be proud of progress on sustainability, says SFF Published:  18 May, 2006

A SEMINAR on Scottish fishing will hear today that the industry should be proud of its progress on sustainability – but it must guard against misinformation that is putting the industry in a bad light.

The seminar – The Trouble with Scottish Fishing – has been organised by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and is being staged to coincide with the Fishing 2006 exhibition at the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow. Several leading figures connected with the industry will speak at the event.

SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong will tell the seminar that the Scottish fleet is the second largest in the EU and can be proud of its record of harvesting quality seafood in a controlled and sustainable way.

But he will warn: “The fish buying public, however, is confronted with a confusing set of messages. On the one hand they are told that fish is healthy and good to eat, but on the other hand they are being confused by messages about fishing being bad for the marine environment.

“Unfortunately, most of this negative information has very little scientific basis, or is the result of cherry picking from irrelevant data – or worse, the result of some large-scale retailers wishing to capitalise on a green image.”

Mr Armstrong will say that the future of the Scottish fishing industry could be prejudiced unless steps are taken to set the record straight.

“The Scottish fleet has dramatically contracted in recent years – mostly in response to conservation measures, and it must be one of the most controlled and regulated industries in the world.

“Scottish fishermen are also at the forefront of industry/science projects to develop stock science and have forged close links with scientists and responsible environmental organisations.

“All the main target species for the Scottish industry are sustainable or entirely capable of recovery under strict regulations and management plans. We are in the middle of some of the world’s best fishing grounds and our aim is to have a healthy and sustainable industry harvesting a wonderful natural product.”

Speakers at the seminar will include Professor Robin Cook of Fisheries Research Services, Seafish chief executive John Rutherford, Libby Woodhatch Seafood Scotland chief executive, David Donnan of Scottish Natural Heritage and Kara Brydson of the Scottish Environment Link organisation. On behalf of Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie – who is meeting with the Norwegian Fishing Minister today – Frank Strang, a senior civil servant from the Scottish Executive will make the initial address.

The aim of the free seminar is to bring together these expert speakers so as to help set the record straight on Scottish fishing. Fishermen and other interested parties are encouraged to attend.

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