McGrigor pushes Lochhead for details of EU fishing discard ban in practice

In the Scottish Parliament today, 11th June, Jamie McGrigor MSP, Scottish Conservative Fisheries Spokesman, pressed the interests of west coast artisanal prawn fishermen with Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead. He pushed Mr Lochhead to set out more details of how the EU’s fishing discard ban will work in practice at Scotland’s ports. This came in response to Richard Lochhead’s statement to the Scottish Parliament on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Jamie McGrigor urged the Cabinet Secretary to put pressure on the EU to exempt the prawn boats that could demonstrate minimal by-catches of cod from the cod recovery plan, emphasising the substantial benefits of this exemption for west coast fishermen.

He said: ‘The UK government is to be commended for helping to negotiate the basic structure of the new CFP that appears to be a good deal for Scottish fisheries. The reforms on discards, better management of fishing fleet capacity, decentralised governance of fisheries and support for small scale fisheries, will hopefully end over-fishing and support sustainable sectoral growth, creating more job opportunities in our coastal areas while providing a sustainable source of excellent protein for our people.

‘In terms of how the discard ban will work in practice, the SFF is right to say that the devil will be in the detail and that practical, realistic implementation measures are key.

‘I believe that in English ports government officials have already been helping make a plan as to how discards and previously unwanted fish can be used – but little has so far happened in the major landing ports on Scotland’s coast.

‘Fishermen want and deserve to know what regulations they will have to work with.’

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3 Responses to McGrigor pushes Lochhead for details of EU fishing discard ban in practice

  1. The reformed CFP certainly has the mark of UK and Scottish policy -well done. It should be the responsibility of fishermen to account for all catches and to deal with the consequences of their fishery, including handling of incidental catches. Given 30 years of adverse CFP the public must take responsibility for the “transition costs”. First, as all catches henceforward count on fishermen’s quotas no excess fishing mortality occurs and days at sea and technical regulations can go. Second as all catches Count against quotas, it makes no difference for the fish stock whether the fish is eaten or discarded. The landing obligation then becomes an ethical (political) decision, then it is fair that the public share the extra costs untill Commercial solutions can be made operative. Silage is easy to store and once this solution is viable the amount of 15pct offall from total catches can be added. Denmark is currently developing this business model

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  2. This must be the same Mogens Schou who advises the Danish fishery ministry. If so, then your reach, newsroom, is impressive.

    All this fish (or offal as the Danes call it) will be stored in silos at our expense. Then what?

    An article in the Fishing News gave the view that this lack of forethought is what you get when policy is formed by a “laughing” chef. Harsh but true.

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  3. Used to be, Hans, now I am in private business. This is where the next battle for a sound management should take place. I always believed that fishermen should account for all they catch, whether they chose to discard or land would be their decision. Now we have a discard ban – much due to “our chef” – Hugh. As I see it. the people who knew how to handle the problem failed and left it to the public – and the public could relate to discards and little more. I am convinced that had the public not acted we would still be in mud to our necks. Now policy has spoken – not the ideal solution, and challenges to count. Some people find reward in critisism, but Hans, I think we should now take advantage of the situation. As all fish count we may lay off numerous rules. We are preparing a trial on this and as the fish has to be landed we should minimise cost or even benefit from it; we have established a financial commitment reaching from fishers, producers of equipment, fishmeal (biomar) and others to establish onboard and harbor based silage solutions. Our calculations show that a real business opportunity is at hand – Next to the discard fish you may add 15 % from the offall guts from the gutted fish. Now in the present situation no one should use more than two breaths to critise without allowing one breath to consider constructive solutions.

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