Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 12:05 UK

Fish 'worth 40m' dumped annually

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Norwegian coastguards filmed Scottish trawlermen dumping fish

Scottish fishing boat skippers dump up to 40m of fish each year due to "crazy" EU rules, it has been claimed.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead was speaking at a major summit on dead fish being thrown back into the sea because of quota restrictions.

The Scottish Government wants a change in European policy to end the practice.

Fishermen have said they could land what they catch in return for spending fewer days at sea. The summit is being held in Edinburgh.

Mr Lochhead said the rules had led to the economic and environmental "madness".

I am confident that Scotland can play a leading role in finding a way of allowing fishermen to land much more of the fish which they catch but are currently forced to discard
Richard Lochhead
Fisheries Secretary

It is estimated about 100,000 tonnes of fish are dumped by Scottish boats in the North Sea every year.

Mr Lochhead said: "I am appalled and frustrated at the scandalous level of waste and the economic and environmental madness discards represent. In what other industry would it be acceptable to throw away so much of what is produced?

"Responsible and hard-working skippers are heartbroken because they have to throw away precious fish. That is why they, like me, are determined to tackle the scourge of discards.

"The scale of the problem beggars belief. Crazy European regulations mean that at a time of worldwide food shortages and higher food prices at home, our fishermen are having to throw away up to 40m worth of fish for which there is a perfectly good market."

He added: "Clearly, given the current European rules and regulations we can't do it alone, but I am confident that Scotland can play a leading role in finding a way of allowing fishermen to land much more of the fish which they catch but are currently forced to discard.

"This would benefit fishermen, consumers and the environment."


SEE ALSO
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