Following the publication by the EC last week of how it plans to act upon scientific advice when proposing catch limits for 2011, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation is urging the Commission to take greater account of catch data from fishermen so as to close the information gap.
The EC report calls for tougher methods of setting quota limits and the number of days fishing boats can put to sea, although it does concede that many stocks are now recovering.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, says it is vital that the gap is closed between scientific advice and the real-time situation of fish stocks, which can be sourced from catch information from fishermen.
“The SFF is committed to sustainable catching but at the moment many fishermen are finding it impossible to reconcile the difference between the relative abundance of fish at sea, with the extremely tight and restrictive regulations that are threatening the very survival of some segments of the fleet,” said Mr Armstrong.
“There is a distinct disparity between the science and the associated management rules, and the experience of fishermen on the fishing grounds. This is a gap that must be closed before new catch rules are set for 2011, making maximum use of the experience and knowledge which fishermen hold.”