Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 16:40 UK

Fishermen attack North Sea report

Cod on a fishing boat
The report said North Sea stocks still need to be rebuilt

Scottish fishing leaders have criticised research that suggested North Sea stocks are still at risk.

A study published in a science journal said careful management has helped recovery in areas such as Iceland and off the north east US coast.

But the report said stocks in the North Sea were still under threat and, along with some 63% of assessed fish stocks worldwide, require rebuilding.

The Scottish Fishermen's Federation dismissed the report as inaccurate.

Chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: "It is excessively gloomy. The real disappointment is that they have singled out the North Sea as an area not yet recovering when nothing could be further from the truth.

"We are not saying the problems are solved or anything remotely like it, but what we are saying is that we properly understand the problems and we are making really big efforts to put that right."

'Ecosystem recovery'

Details of the two-year study by 21 marine scientists appear in Science. It said efforts introduced to halt overfishing in five of the 10 major marine ecosystems they examined were showing signs of success.

Louize Hill, marine policy officer with environmental group WWF Scotland, said: "It is great news that adopting conservation measures in world fisheries is helping with the recovery of some fish stocks.

"We urge ministers to continue to work with Scotland's fishing industry to ensure the effective roll-out of conservation measures already under way here and to use their influence to ensure that these measures are adopted by other member states throughout European waters.

"Although this study uses commercial landings as a proxy for ecosystem status without providing evidence that whole ecosystem recovery is taking place, there is enough here to suggest we must continue and extend the efforts being taken to turn around the general decline in stocks."

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