Support conservation measures in the North Sea – Fishupdate.com

Support conservation measures in the North Sea Published:  20 November, 2008

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond with John Buchan, skipper of the Fairline at Peterhead

The latest initiative by the fishing industry to support conservation measures in the North Sea is due to begin in Peterhead next week.

Local skipper John Buchan is starting trials on board the Fairline with a ‘revolutionary’ new net designed to deal with the problem of discarded fish, particularly cod. The trial also involves the Philip Morgan-skippered Our Guide.

The net being trialled uses a much larger mesh size to allow pressured species such as cod to escape while retaining other fish with larger catch quotas such as haddock.

After meeting Mr Buchan at the harbour, First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“The Scottish Government is working very closely with the fishing industry in taking great strides to develop innovative measures to protect valuable fish stocks whilst securing the best deal for skippers.

“This latest industry-based initiative by John Buchan in support of sustainable fishing practices is one I warmly welcome. Anything that is based on peoples’ real life experiences is always preferable to theory. It is also consistent with everything we have been doing under the trailblazing Conservation Credits Scheme this year.

“Under the Scheme, fishermen have had unprecedented input into managing our fisheries sustainably. We have worked together to promote and incentivise pro-conservation behaviour.

“In addition, the Scottish Government has also committed #500,000 over two years to fund four full-time observers, whose role includes monitoring cod avoidance and discard reductions initiatives under the Conservation Credits scheme.

“This includes the trialling of innovative new cod avoidance gear like the revolutionary nets now being tested by a number of skippers.

“Scotland is leading the way in sustainable fisheries management in Europe. Our thinking and expertise is now shaping the debate.

“Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead is in Brussels this week to strongly argue the case that the innovative measures implemented by the Scottish fleet should be encouraged and rewarded.

“It is clear that cod stocks are heading in the right direction thanks to the significant efforts of our fleet. We are therefore looking to secure a position where our fishermen can land more of what they catch rather than having to dump it overboard, while at the same time promoting measures that reduce the amount of stock taken from the sea in the first place.”

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