Skippers hitting catch data collection
22nd August 2003
LACK of co-operation from skippers is hitting collection of crucial data on fish stocks, a leading scientist claimed today.
Robin Cook director of the FRS Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen, told the North East of Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership in Aberdeen that skippers were blocking catch sampling attempts by scientists.
“I do not know precisely what has been happening within the trade organisations, but the story we get from individual skippers, is they have been told not to co-operate.
“That would suggest the leadership within each organisation has asked them not to.”
Catch assessments hampered by under-reported catches and too few samples will inevitably affect the scientific advice for annual quotas, he said. While lack of co-operation would not affect catching advice for next year, it would affect advice for 2005.
“The problem is being stored up and it means inevitably that the advice for 2005 will be more cautious than it needs to be.”
But George MacRae, secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association said the issue had its roots in the fact that information given to scientists in the past had either been used against fishermen or not used at all.
Meanwhile Alex Smith President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said one of the main reasons for lack of co-operation was that while Scotland had a 25 year old discard sampling system other states did not, which meant Scotland gets unfair treatment.