City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Crucial week for Scotland's fisheries and marine environment


By Editor - Posted on 02 November 2009

RSPB Scotland

Crucial week for Scotland's fisheries  and marine environment  

Scotland's fisheries, fish stocks, environment and fishing industry, will be the centre of critical discussions this week. Two key events take place that will shape the debate on the future of fisheries - especially the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

First, on Tuesday, the Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs and Environment Committee takes evidence, in Round Table, on CFP reform.  Lloyd Austin, RSPB Scotland's Head of Conservation Policy, will give evidence on behalf of environmental NGOs.  Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the EU's Regional Advisory Councils for the North Sea and the North West Waters meet, in Edinburgh, to discuss the same matter – reform of a policy that has failed to deliver sustainable management of fish stocks across the EU.

These events begin the build up to this December's curial Council of Ministers meeting that finalises next years TACs and quotas.  However, this year is more than ever, as it also coincides with the end of consultation on the European Commission's Green Paper on Reform of the CFP.  Next year, the EU and member states will need to assess the responses to these proposals and develop plans for the reform of what is widely regarded as a 'broken' policy.

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, said: "We support the Cabinet Secretary's view that discards are the scourge of the fishing industry and a barrier to wise stock management, and we are disappointed that decisive action to stop discards has not been forthcoming. The problem continues across the EU, damaging ecological and economic sustainability. The positive action being brought forward by the Scottish government and some in the Scottish fleet towards addressing the issue is to be welcomed.   "To fully address the discards issue, quotas must be based on what each vessel catches and not what is landed at port. A strong framework of catch limitation, monitoring and enforcement (including on board observers and CCTV) must underpin future practice.   Stuart continued: "Looking to the future, the EU and member states need to grasp the nettle and institute fundamental reform of the Common Fisheries Policy - to place the environment at its heart, so as to manage stocks in a genuinely sustainable manner.  Such change would be good for fish, for the wider marine environment and, in the long term, for the fishing communities, which all rely on this natural resource."

He added: "For too long fisheries management has treated fish stocks as individual units swimming around disconnected from other species and their habitat. It is time for a fundamental change – to move towards ecosystem-based fisheries management, which will look at the long-term management of stocks and their interactions with each other and their environment.  This is vital if we are to achieve a sustainable fishing industry."

For more information please contact RSPB Scotland

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland

Dunedin House

25 Ravelston Terrace

Edinburgh

EH4 3TP  

The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing - help us keep it that way. Click here to join today www.rspb.org.uk/join

'The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654

The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing - help us keep it that way.