SCOTLAND, UK - Scotland’s largest fisheries association has received an award from a major conservation charity for its work on rebuilding North Sea cod stocks.
The Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association won best project at The Ocean Awards 2016 hosted by the Blue Marine Foundation, which aims to increase the area of the world’s oceans protected by marine reserves.
The association has pioneered the introduction of a series of measures to conserve cod stocks, leading ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) scientists to recommend quota increases in successive years.
SWFPA chief executive Mike Park accepted the award at a ceremony in London.
He said: “This award is great recognition for fishermen who have shown that they are open to new ways of working, especially if those methods help them to protect their livelihoods.
“It also shows that rather than being the problem, fishermen are the solution to managing stocks in a sustainable fashion.
“It’s a win-win because for the greens these measures support conservation while for us they make good business sense.”
Since 2010, SWFPA members have been remotely monitoring cod discards via onboard electronic systems.
The association has also been instrumental in introducing a series of annual seasonal closures to protect spawning aggregations and real time closures to protect abundances. It has also promoted use of nets that reduce the capture of cod by 60 per cent.
The SWFPA is the largest association of fishermen and their communities in Europe, representing 1,400 skippers and crewmen and around 200 vessels ranging from small inshore and scallop boats to trawlers, pair trawlers and modern prawn boats.
TheFishSite News Desk