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Fishing for the truth

Scottish Fishermen's Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong

SCOTLAND’S fishermen have launched a new website to counter criticism that they are damaging fish stocks and the environment.

The site www.fishingforthetruth.co.uk highlights recent statistics first published by Shetland’s NAFC Marine Centre that stocks in the north east Atlantic are increasing in size.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation says the industry can take full credit for the encouraging picture, saying that the cuts in the size of the fishing fleet and the rigorous conservation measures they have adopted are bringing the seas back to life.

Chief executive Bertie Armstrong slams the “doomsters and self-appointed armchair experts” for painting a picture of overfishing that is “totally inaccurate and unwarranted”.

“The truth on fishing is, of course, very different with the majority of fish stocks now undergoing sustained recovery in the north east Atlantic as verified by the independent science,” he said.

“Our fishermen have pioneered a whole host of conservation measures over the last decade including real-time area closures to protect spawning stocks and technical alterations to nets that are dramatically reducing discards.

“This has come at considerable cost to the industry, with the size of the fleet having shrunk considerably over the last decade and the number of fishermen employed in Scotland now at its lowest ever recorded level and still declining.

“We hope that our new website will go some way in helping to set the record straight and highlight to the consumer the good news about our fish stocks and the commitment of our fishermen in their sustainable harvesting.”