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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Fishing framework plan published
Cod boxes
Fish quotas have to be managed to conserve stocks, experts say
A blueprint for the future of fishing in Scotland has been published by the Scottish Executive.

The plan calls for improved co-operation between fishermen and scientists.

It states that the industry needs a longer term approach and also warns that fishermen must catch less to ensure the survival of the industry.

But the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) has said it is unsure the plan will achieve what it sets out to.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, said concerns about conservation must not be allowed to endanger the industry.

He added: "We have to be careful that we get the balance right. There's no point in creating a wildlife park for fish if you have destroyed the industry on the way to achieving that.

Sustainable future

"A maximum sustainable yield of fish profitably harvested is what we want, which will mean some limits on the catching.

"But if we have problems with the viability then excessive limitations may force people out of business."

However, Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie told BBC Radio Scotland he was confident that the executive's plan could be successful.

Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie
This document sets out the steps which need to be taken to ensure the industry is sustainable, profitable and well managed
Ross Finnie
Fisheries Minister

He said: "This document is about sustainable fisheries and that is about balancing the need to conserve stocks but also to ensure that we actually have a viable fishing industry.

"I think this strategy puts a much better framework in place for the future of Scottish fisheries.

"We can work with the fishermen, work with the fish processors and work with the consumers to ensure that we have a sustainable industry that means a long term economic and environmental future for them."

The Scottish National Party's Richard Lochhead said Scotland needed control over its own seas to allow a "real strategy" to be put in place and to help build a "prosperous future" for the fishing industry.

He added: "Scotland has a rich abundance of fish stocks in its waters, yet our fishing communities are powerless to stop them being plundered by the European Union."

Politcal 'rhetoric'

Scottish Conservative Fisheries Spokesman Ted Brocklebank said: "Why is it that when this executive announces a new framework on fishing, all we get is more rhetoric and further bad news for the industry.

"Ross Finnie's latest claim that he is aiming to maintain sustainable fishing opportunities by 'banking fish in the short term' is just a euphemism for more cuts in the whitefish fleet with empty promises of better days ahead for those who survive."

Mr Finnie unveiled the new framework in Musselburgh on Tuesday.

He said he believed it was now right to move from "analysis to action".

The minister added: "This document sets out the steps which need to be taken to ensure the industry is sustainable, profitable and well managed."

The blueprint sets out the following key initiatives:

  • Sustainable - this includes measures to safeguard fish stocks, developing management strategies, making Scotland's case at international level and encouraging environmentally responsible fishing.

  • Profitable - this includes supporting sea fishing communities, promoting business efficiency and improving co-ordination of economic development support.

  • Well managed - this includes devising better, more effective and more regionally focused fisheries regulations and enhancing both pre and post landing enforcement.

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