SFF criticises SCFF creel report

19 Jun 2017
prawns

SCFF is seeking Marine Scotland’s support for a target of a 50% share for creelers of the 0-6NM Scottish Nephrops fishery

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has condemned a new report which it says calls for the exclusion of prawn trawling and scallop fishing from inshore areas, in favour of creeling.

Responding to the report on the value of creel fishing from the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation (SCFF), Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, said: “The report seems to demand a return of a three-mile fishing limit, which for good reason was abandoned 33 years ago.

“Careful reading of the report reveals that what is actually being demanded is the exclusion (and therefore demise) of two sustainable, profitable catching sectors – prawn trawling and scallop fishing – from inshore areas, in favour of another sector. This ignores the fact that the present arrangement – a mixed inshore sector – has evolved in accordance with available resource and market demand.”

The report ‘Correcting the misallocation of Nephrops stocks in Scottish inland waters: Untapping a vast economic (and environmental) potential’ states: “Currently, in Scotland we have an economically absurd outcome whereby each tonne of Nephrops caught by trawls in areas fishable by creels is contributing to an unnecessary degradation of the Scottish marine environment and a significant reduction in Scottish output, income, employment and profits, particularly in remote/rural areas.”

SCFF is calling on government body Marine Scotland to focus on a re-balancing of fishing effort in the form of creel only areas.

Specifically, SCFF is seeking Marine Scotland’s support for a target of a 50% share for creelers of the 0-6NM Scottish Nephrops fishery. 

SCFF believes that this goal can best be achieved on the west coast of Scotland through the re-imposition of an 0-3NM mobile gear restriction; and on the east coast of Scotland through a network of mobile gear free zones negotiated at local level with the support and guidance from Marine Scotland.

SCFF estimates that the economic benefits of this policy for the west coast would include over 450 additional (small) fishing vessels and businesses, over 700 net and new sustainable jobs in fishing and nearly £45m additional annual revenue and over £2.5m annual profits which would flow directly into west coast communities

SFF said it will continue to back the mixed sustainable Scottish inshore industry, with Mr Armstrong adding: “The hallmark of the report is the assumption that static fishing gear is good and mobile gear is bad.”

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