SFF: Proportionate and sensible fishery management key to a sustainable future

During the Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum today, SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong will deliver the message that the fish and shellfish found in the seas around the UK are one of the UK’s most valuable natural resources and the Scottish fishing industry is determined to ensure their sustainable harvesting.

The forum is being held in London and will focus on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and the move towards a sustainable fishing industry.

Mr Armstrong will tell the event that UK fisheries have a vital role to play in ensuring food security for the UK by providing a sustainable, healthy and nutritious food resource that is in huge demand.

“Scottish fishermen are committed to sustainable harvesting and this has been shown by the pioneering fish conservation measures we have adopted, and which are now playing an important role in ensuring that fish stocks reach healthy levels.”

However, Mr Armstrong will warn: “But for there to be a sustainable future, we need proportionate and reasonable fishery management that is formulated by people and organisations who know about fishing, including scientists, fishermen, government, and other relevant stakeholders.

“Unfortunately, there are a multitude of people and various fringe groups that have materialised in recent years who seem to think they are experts on fishing despite having absolutely no connection with the industry. We must be careful that such input does not unduly influence fishery management to such a degree that it jeopardises the future of this sustainable and valuable food resource. Indeed, the ecological impact of fishing is already much lower than many other types of protein production.”

Mr Armstrong will add that the forthcoming reform of the CFP will provide a unique opportunity to put in place a new fisheries regime that will deliver a secure and sustainable future. But at the heart of the new policy must be the regional management of fisheries, enabling effective measures to be implemented on a local scale, and which also involves fishermen in the decision-making process.

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