With key whitefish stocks in Scotland’s waters having expanded dramatically over the past decade, according to a major new analysis, there is a real need for closer links between the the fishing industry and the Scottish Government, according to the Shetland Fishermen’s Association.
At the same time the pressure placed on these stocks by the fishing fleet is at record lows, as is stated by a study into the latest assessments published by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. The work has been carried out by Dr Ian Napier of the NAFC Marine Centre UHI for the Shetland Fishermen’s Association.
SFA executive officer Simon Collins wants to see closer links between government and industry to manage fisheries more effectively after Brexit.
‘The figures match what our fishermen are seeing week in, week out, at sea. The overall trend for most of our major commercial stocks could hardly be more encouraging,’ he said.
‘Brexit now offers Scotland an opportunity to make the most of its marine resources, and we look forward to closer collaboration with the Scottish Government to ensure this happens. Countries like Iceland and Norway have already shown what a strong partnership between government and industry can do for sustainability, coastal communities and seafood exports.’
According to Dr Napier’s study, which examined stocks such as cod, haddock, saithe, plaice, monkfish and whiting; ‘It is notable that the aggregate whitefish spawning stock biomass have increased dramatically over the last two decades and are now at record high levels … Over much the same period the overall average levels of fishing mortality across multiple stocks have fallen substantially to record low levels.’
Dr Napier’s paper can be seen in full here.