SFF welcomes haddock discard move

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has welcomed the move by the European Commission to use emergency powers to reduce and avoid excessive discarding of haddock in the West of Scotland.

Under the previous “unworkable” catch composition rules, which governed the proportion of the various species that could be landed, fishermen had no option other than to dump large quantities of marketable haddock back into the sea despite having a catch quota for the species.

Now, in a move to bring an end to unnecessary discards and following a long campaign from the Scottish industry, the EC will permit fishermen to land their haddock quota as it is caught by immediately suspending the catch composition rules. This will apply for an initial six-month period (the maximum available under emergency powers), with the expectation that it will be extended thereafter.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “We welcome this announcement by Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki. Under the previous ludicrous and totally unworkable catch composition rules fishermen had no option other than to discard large quantities of perfectly good haddock, which was a tragic waste.

“We also welcome the fact that this appears to be a long overdue recognition from the EC, made in a statement by Commissioner Damanaki, that the inherent cause of discarding is down to fundamentally flawed regulations, rather than from the legitimate activities of fishermen.”

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