3bl logo

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy. You can opt out anytime.

Scotland Could Lead the Way in Sustainable Fishing

Words by Akhila Vijayaraghavan
Energy & Environment

Scotland is known for its fisheries which yield high quality salmon, trout, mackerel, cod and other species. Scotland has just under 8.6 percent of the UK population but lands over 60 percent of the total fish catch. This means that there is a huge opportunity for sustainable fishing. Earlier this year, officials announced that Scotland will be using a system of stakeholder engagement in order to manage its fisheries. Now the fishing ministry is keen to maintain a sustainable push to their management methods.

Scotland has actually received a $19 million grant from the European Union for its fisheries sector. However the Scottish government is also implementing regional policies for further improvement. According to Richard Lochhead, Scotland's Fisheries Minister:

"We must take advantage of the plethora of opportunities that lie ahead of us in 2012 and maximize the benefits to Scotland in what could be a truly pivotal year for our fishing industry."

The Vice President of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, Richard Lochhead, announced recently in Edinburgh that his group had a huge amount to offer the scientific community in terms of providing better catch data and other information on fish stocks. Along with this, Lochhead announced that the fishing industry would receive a grant to ensure better fleets which would help reduce discards and improve safety. He also went on to say that cooperation between fishermen and scientists was essential in order to ensure a stronger common fishing policy.

The European Commission is said to introduce sanctions against the Faroe Islands and Iceland for overfishing mackerel in the region, this is hindering Scotland's efforts to ensure a fairer catch for their own fishermen. Already, there was a reported 11 percent decrease in the volume of mackerel landings in 2010 due to quotas for proper management of the species. Responsible mackerel management in the north-east Atlantic is essential for the long-term future of the stock. Therefore a deal must be reached  in order to limit the total catch in the region.

A common fisheries policy would ensure a better catch limit for countries involved and improve the state of fisheries in the region. Currently some proposals include automatic cuts in quota of between 15-25 percent due to lack of data rather than true state of fish stock and Scottish officials say that Scottish fishermen can offer better data to ensure fairer policies.

The mackerel dispute is only one side of the fisheries policy that is badly needed in the region. Cod recovery and decline of salmon are also problems that need to be tackled in order to ensure a sustainable future in the fisheries industry for Scotland and the rest of the EU region.