The year 2011 was a “mixed year” for Scotland’s fish stocks and fishing industry, said WWF Scotland today (Wednesday 28 December) as it published its end of year assessment of the state of Scotland’s main whitefish stocks. [1]

While quotas will be increased in 2012 for some Scottish stocks (e.g. west coast haddock +200%), WWF said it was “disappointed” that cod stocks had yet to recover sufficiently – despite the continued efforts of the industry – resulting in cuts in the number of days vessels can spend at sea during the year.However, the conservation group said it was “pleased” that efforts to fish more responsibly – through the use of more selective gear and techniques that leave more fish in the sea – continued apace during 2011 with more fisheries applying for certification under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). [2] WWF called on all stakeholders in Scotland to continue to work together during 2012 to “help turn around the fortunes of every fish stock” and repeated its calls for progressive reform of the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).Based on the latest scientific information, existing management plans and recent announcements on quotas, WWF Scotland made the following end of year assessment of four of Scotland’s most important whitefish species:HADDOCK:(Value: £32.4 million. Volume: 28,101 tonnes)*. Increase of 14% in the North Sea quota as recommended by scientists and a huge swing west of Scotland where scientists said that a 410% increase was possible. The quota will be increased by 200%.. WWF continues to encourage measures to avoid cod catches along with haddock.COD:(Value: £24 million. Volume: 9,552 tonnes)*. Cod recovery is going in the right direction but more slowly than expected, hence the recent automatic reduction in vessels’ time at sea.. North Sea cod quota will be cut by 1% while there is no cod quota on the west coast given its depleted state. WWF welcomes this decision.. Greater effort is required to avoid catching cod by using more selective gear.. Although landing levels increased compared to 2009, the value remains below that of haddock and monkfish.MONKFISH:(Value: £32.6 million. Volume: 9,609 tonnes)*. WWF supports the joint work between the industry and scientists to increase the amount of data so as to ensure the best management measures possible.. Monk fish landings will be cut by 5% in 2012 after scientists advised a reduction in catches.HAKE:(Value: £11 million Volume: 5,940 tonnes)*. Hake went down in both value and landings in 2010. Scientific advice was for a 6% cut but there will be a rollover of the current quotas for 2012.. Hake has made a recent return as a fishery in the North Sea as the stock is moving north.WWF Scotland Senior Marine Policy Officer, Dr Mireille Thom said: “In the past year, fish landings by Scottish vessels amounted to £438 million, confirming the continued economic and social importance of the fishing industry in Scotland.”While some fishing quotas are set to increase, 2011 was a bit of a mixed year for fish stocks and the fishing industry in Scotland. While we are disappointed industry efforts to protect cod stocks are taking longer that hoped for, we are nevertheless pleased to see continued progress made towards more sustainable fishing practices in Scotland.  As we go into 2012 it is essential that this momentum is not lost as the European Parliament debates reform of the rules governing fishing.  Everyone agrees the current way of making decisions in EU on fishing is well passed its sell-by date.”It’s crucial that industry, scientists, government and other stakeholders continue to work together to protect and grow all of Scotland’s fish stocks. The future of Scotland’s fishing industry and communities depends on today’s actions and activities to protect marine ecosystems. This is why responsible fishing must be encouraged and supported by all those who have the long-term interest of fishing at heart.”[1] £ values and landings are for 2010. Source: Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2010 (September 2011): http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/09/09155012/10[2] Progress made in Scottish fisheries towards Marine Stewardship Council certification. Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG)  West of Scotland herring entered Full Assessment in February 2011. Shetland and Scottish mainland rope grown mussel enhanced fishery entered Full Assessment in February 2011.. Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) saithe entered Full Assessment (FA) in June 2011. . The Isle of Man/Scottish assessment for queen scallops has been completed. Source: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/marine/Sea-Fisheries/19213/scotfisheries