15 February 2013

Fishing Industry Innovative Trawls Highlighted by Local MSP

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has tabled a Motion in the Scottish Parliament commending the Scottish fishing industry for their development of novel trawls that reduce discards of white fish, including cod, allowing for more fishing days for those vessels equipped with the new nets.

Working in partnership with the Scottish Government, the new designs of prawn trawl have achieved reductions of over 60% of cod caught when compared to a standard trawl, with one of the designs having the ability to reduce the cod by-catch by 87%. Trials conducted by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation have also shown that the new trawls can achieve a 67% reduction in haddock and 64% fall in whiting, as well as achieving the required reductions in the cod catch.

The initial spur for the development of these trawls was a means of allowing increased fishing days for the fleet. In a deal brokered by the Scottish and UK Governments, boats that use these new nets are able to ‘win’ back extra fishing days.

Commenting afterwards, Mr. Stevenson said

“I am glad to hear that the Scottish fishing industry has taken steps to improve their prawn trawls to catch fewer whitefish. I welcome the advance in the efforts to conserve cod and the associated increase in the number of days the vessels using the new trawls can go to sea.

“This development will have a positive effect on both the green efforts of the Scottish people and the Scottish economy. Industry-driven innovation of this sort is crucial to the future of our nation. I hope the fishing industry continues to innovate and develop better ways of doing business, and that other industries follow their lead in combining conservation and business.”

Text of Motion

Scottish Fishermen Deliver Effective Conservation

That the Parliament commends the Scottish fishing industry on the development of innovative prawn trawls which significantly reduce discards of white fish, especially cod; understands that several new designs of nets have been created; welcomes that the 60% reduction in the number of cod caught will allow vessels using the nets more fishing days under European Union rules; recognizes that one design reduced cod by-catch by 87% and that additional designs continue to be developed.

Stewart Stevenson
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