THE leader of Scotland’s fishermen is calling for skippers to rewarded for the “severe sacrifices” they have made in recent years to help conserve fish stocks.
Bertie Armstrong, the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said he had been contacted in recent weeks by a number of trawler skippers reporting huge quantities of cod and other fish on Scotland’s traditional fishing grounds.
And he said it was now time for fishermen to be allowed increased catching opportunities to take advantage of the increased bounty.
Mr Armstrong said “The fishing fleet has shrunk dramatically in size and we have been pioneering initiatives to reduce discards and conserve stocks, including developing new designs of trawls and real-time areas closures to protect nursery grounds. Our fishermen have made huge sacrifices in recent years – in effect, these measures amount to taking much longer to catch much less.
“The results are now only too evident with fishermen reporting a dramatic surge in the amount of fish on the grounds.”
He added “ This is, of course, welcome news, but it is vital that the Scottish and UK Governments, along with the European Commission, recognise that the sacrifices made by our fishermen should be rewarded with increased catching opportunities to reflect the true status of the stocks. This is particularly important, given the impending introduction of a discards ban and an obligation for fishermen to land all their fish.”