With just 12 months to go before the introduction of a landing obligation, which will be the most dramatic change the European fishing industry has seen for 30 years, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) believes there are still major issues yet to be addressed.
In response to these concerns Arnold Locker said “Here in Whitby, Locker Trawlers have played a key role in reducing the North Sea cod catch to less than 1% .
The English fleet are the most conservation minded in Europe and have fully surported the The Fully documented catch of North Sea cod as the scheme enters it’s fifth year .”
The federation has been at the heart of discussions between advisory councils and member states, and says it is clear there is much work still to do.
The NFFO’s chief executive, Barrie Deas, said: “You don’t need a crystal ball to foresee that 2015 will be dominated by preparations for the introduction of the landings obligation to the demersal fisheries from January 2016.
“Yet fishermen are waiting to learn how the discard ban will be phased-in, what exemptions should apply to which fisheries and species, and must also wait until December 2015 to find out about the increase in quota to cover the unwanted catch that will now have to be landed.”
Many common public misconceptions still exist about an industry which largely operates beyond the horizon.
Thanks to a concerted effort by fishermen, development of more selective fishing methods and a reduced fleet size, discards have already reduced dramatically.
In the North Sea roundfish fishery, for example, discards have reduced by 90 per cent since 1994.
Mr Deas continued: “Due to the impact of a smaller fleet and by working together with scientists, fishermen have seen discards reducing, by up to 90 per cent in some places. But this is the sort of fact that goes unreported and leaves the general public with the completely wrong view of the industry.”
To dispel current misconceptions about the fishing industry their latest press release highlights the facts as opposed to fiction.
For example all cod on sale in the UK has been caught within scientifically agreed quotas and therefore a sustainable food catch.
The abundance of North Sea cod is increasing and scientist are confident stocks will continue to build.