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26 September 2008

STEVENSON WELCOMES SUMMIT TO TACKLE DISCARDED FISH

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the fishing discards summit hosted in Edinburgh by the Scottish Government to try and tackle the problem of perfectly good fish being caught and discarded to comply with European fishing regulations.

Every year, around 100, 000 tonnes of fish are dumped back at sea when they could have made around £40 million if they had been sold instead. The summit marks the beginning of a campaign by the Scottish Government to bring about changes to European fishing rules so that this hideous waste is brought to an end.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“Discarding so many perfectly good fish is not something that either the fishing industry or the decision makers in Brussels wants to happen. The current rules are responsible for causing this terrible practice, so clearly the rules have to be rewritten to find a better way for the fishing fleet to operate.

“Skippers in Banff & Buchan don’t want to waste perfectly good fish by being forced to throw them back overboard. The practice runs completely counter to the aim of conserving fish stocks and making the industry sustainable.

“The Scottish Government is calling for new European rules whereby the fleet catches less fish overall but is able to land the marketable fish it is currently having to discard. In this way, fishing stocks will be preserved while at the same time the wasteful practice of discards will become unnecessary.

“Obviously there is a lot of negotiating to do if we are to have any chance of successfully changing European rules, but I am confident that every effort will be put into bringing these needed changes about”.
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