12 January 2011

Stevenson Comments on TV Chef's Fish Campaign

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the publicity given to the struggle that Scottish fishermen face and the heartbreaking practice of discards which ineffective EU rules force upon them, thanks to the launch of TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight campaign.

The first in the series of programmes was broadcast yesterday (Tuesday) and graphically highlighted the CFP regulations which force fishing vessels to dump tonnes of perfectly good fish back into the sea.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I welcome anything that brings the crazy conditions that the fishing industry to the forefront of public consciousness. Where some previous programmes examining the issue have been less than balanced, I was happy to see that Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall got right to the heart of the matter in identifying the ineffective Common Fisheries Policy as the cause of discards.

“It is heartbreaking for all involved in the fishing industry to be forced to discard perfectly good fish because of regulations that are simply not suitable for a mixed fishery.

“Nobody has a greater stake in building a profitable but sustainable fishing industry than people in the industry itself. Indeed the Scottish fleet has led Europe in trying to introduce more sustainable methods such as selective fishing gears, real time closures and lately the catch-quota scheme which allows vessels to land more but catch less.

“However, the fundamental fact is that responsibility for managing the waters off Scotland’s coast needs to be taken away from Brussels and put under regional control. With negotiations over reform of the CFP approaching, that must be a clear priority for everyone with the interests of the fishing industry at heart.”
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