Industry praised

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, has tabled a Motion in the Scottish Parliament commending the Scottish fishing industry for their development of novel trawls that reduce discards of white fish, including cod, allowing for more fishing days for those vessels equipped with the new nets.

Working in partnership with the Scottish Government, the new designs of prawn trawl have achieved reductions of over 60% of cod caught when compared to a standard trawl, with one of the designs having the ability to reduce the cod by-catch by 87%. Trials conducted by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation have also shown that the new trawls can achieve a 67% reduction in haddock and 64% fall in whiting, as well as achieving the required reductions in the cod catch.

The initial spur for the development of these trawls was a means of allowing increased fishing days for the fleet. In a deal brokered by the Scottish and UK Governments, boats that use these new nets are able to ‘win’ back extra fishing days.

Commenting afterwards, Mr Stevenson MSP said: “I am glad to hear that the Scottish fishing industry has taken steps to improve their prawn trawls to catch fewer whitefish. I welcome the advance in the efforts to conserve cod and the associated increase in the number of days the vessels using the new trawls can go to sea.

“This development will have a positive effect on both the green efforts of the Scottish people and the Scottish economy. Industry-driven innovation of this sort is crucial to the future of our nation. I hope the fishing industry continues to innovate and develop better ways of doing business, and that other industries follow their lead in combining conservation and business.”

Earlier this month, Mr Stevenson MSP had tabled a Motion recognising the life saving work of the RNLI and the men who died in the 1953 tragedy when the Fraserburgh lifeboat capsized killing
six.

Commenting at the time, Mr Stevenson MSP said: “It is important that we as a community remember anniversaries such as these as it underscores the huge debt which we owe to the volunteer crews of the RNLI who put to sea in sometimes horrendous conditions to come to the aid of others, risking their own safety and, tragically in this case, their lives in the process.”