EU ban on deep water trawls will harm Scottish fishing industry, says MEP

21-Mar-2013 @ 16:0

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Struan Stevensonhas responded to yesterday’s vote in the European Parliament’s EnvironmentCommittee  to ban deep water trawling at depths below 200 metres saying thatsuch a move would seriously harm the Scottish fishingindustry.

Speaking inBrussels following a tense and lengthy debate on deep-sea stocks, the Conservative MEP forScotland said:

“I amastonished that the Environment Committee yesterday voted in favour of aproposal to ban deep water trawling at depths below 200 metres, something thatgoes way beyond the proposal from the European Commission. Although theCommittee's opinion is only consultative and carries no legislative weight, itclearly demonstrates that the decision was taken from a position of ignorance ofthe true facts and the socio-economic impacts that such a ban wouldhave.

“Scottishvessels in particular fish on the slope of the Continental Shelf down to depthsof 900 metres, catching whitefish like megrim, pollock and monkfish. Thissignificant fishery would be seriously impacted by any proposed deep water ban.It is a ludicrous idea to suggest to Scottish fisherman in Fraserburgh,Peterhead or Kinlochbervie that they should attempt to catch monkfish at 900metres with longlines.

“WhileI recognise the need to look at a new management regime that provides fullprotection to the endangered deep water, slow-maturing species, aone-size-fits-all ban not only flies in the face of the spirit of the reformedCommon Fisheries Policy, but would only represent the thin end of the wedge.Would the well-funded ‘green’ lobby push for a total ban on shallow watertrawling next? There is no way I am prepared to go down that path.

“TheFisheries Committee will hold an additional hearing on this issue on Monday 17thJune in Brussels, where scientists and stakeholders can give us a clear view onthe massive displacement that would be caused to many vessels in Scotland andother EU member states if the Commission proposals or the Environment Committeedecisions are implemented. I hope this extra hearing will enable us to arrive ata more balanced decision which will have a long term benefit for the sector andfor the future of sustainable deep sea fishing.”

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