Commenting on the claim by WWF Scotland that the discard ban is being inadequately policed, SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong commented that no-one hates discarding more than fishermen.
‘No-one hates discarding more than our fishermen, who are making a comprehensive effort to comply with this largely unworkable regulation,’ he said.
‘Fishermen are doing everything possible to adhere to the rules and industry and government are working closely together to develop more selective types of fishing gear that will reduce discarding even further. Installing cameras on fishing vessels is no more than a side show and the presence or absence of them will not solve the problem. The real issue is getting the rules right and the proper refinements in place,’ he commented.
‘The current regulations surrounding the discard ban are another example of impractical EU regulation. One of the key problems is the issue of choke stocks where if the quota allocation of one species is used up, it will effectively close down a mixed fishery where other species are being caught at the same time. As the Scottish fishing minister recently pointed out, it is like closing down a whole supermarket by February just because all the potatoes have been sold.’
‘With Brexit, we will be in a position where we can develop better fit-for-purpose fisheries management that will work in practice and also benefit the marine environment.’ Bertie Armstrong said.