European Cetacean Bycatch banner loading

"Man is but a strand in the complex web of life"

Internal links buttons



Dumped dead fish are marine pollutant
by John Kinsman - Correspondent
Marine Times Online

18th October 2003

Fishing industry representatives have called for an urgent investigation into the amount of dead fish dumped at sea by Scottish vessels. They say fishermen are being forced to get rid of huge numbers of fish, which have suffocated in their nets to comply with severely reduced quotas.

The Fraserburgh-based Cod Crusaders pressure group wants the practice banned under rules, which outlaw pollution.

Fisherman's wife Carol McDonald, who is the group's leader, said: "The EC (European Commission) passed a directive back in 2002 to protect marine environments against pollution. I don't think you can class tonnes of dead fish as anything other than pollution".

"We want to draw everyone's attention to this so that action can be taken to ban the practice. Then the Government would have no choice but to increase quotas and allow fishermen to catch more fish. We have already written to UK Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw asking him to do something".

Mrs McDonald said the dumped fish distorted scientist assessments of North Sea cod stocks. "We need to find out exactly how much fish is ending up on the bottom of the sea bed," she added. "Otherwise, how can these scientists expect to compile a realistic report”?

The Cod Crusaders are planning to go to sea on a trawler to discover how many fish are being discarded. Mrs McDonald said: "We want to find out exactly what happens out there and I think the scientists should be doing the same".

Mike Park, chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association asked: "Who knows what the correct figures of fish stocks are. It is a real shame that this practice of discarding fish has to happen because it is a waste of a valuable resource".

"The industry is already struggling to survive and the dumped fish would better serve fishermen if they could land at a fish market and sold on".


Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson has called on the European Commission to allow all fish caught in the UK waters to be landed and for it to review the scientific advice on fish stocks.

His request has been made as an abundance of monkfish off south-west England has resulted in fishermen being forced to dump healthy, over quota fish. Mr Stevenson has written to Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischer, saying, "This appalling waste of a vulnerable resource is not only denying an essential source of food to the EU but is denying income to already beleaguered fishermen."

"The dumping will cause further marine pollution and is a completely unsustainable solution to the problem. How can the EC justify this ongoing disgraceful waste of our valuable fish stocks in UK waters"?