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.’