SCOTTISH fishing leaders travel to Brussels on Tuesday to urge the European Commission not apply “electric shock treatment” to the industry over banning discards.
The European fishing industry is being allowed to address fishing commissioner Maria Damanaki over their fears about her call for an outright ban on the practice following public pressure.
Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong said “significant sections” of the industry would fail if “inappropriate regulations” were implemented.
Mr Armstrong said the EC’s approach to the issue had been “alarmingly superficial”, ignoring the complexity of fishing, especially in the kind of mixed fishery carried out by the Scottish fleet.
“The Commission’s present stance does no justice to the complexity of the problem and to the commitment of stakeholders to innovate and experiment. Instead, in sharp contrast, the message transmitted to the public is that the industry clearly needs the electric-shock treatment of a ban to stimulate action,” he said.
“Simply banning the practice is over-simplistic – a commitment to regulatory change must accompany the ban, or the consequences for the industry will be unpredictable instability, with serious implications for our fragile fishing communities.”
The call for a ban on discards has come from TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight campaign which has attracted more than 670,000 supporters through its website www.fishfight.net
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