Fish Discards (European Commission Proposals)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 10th March 2011.

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Photo of Robin Harper Robin Harper Green

9. To ask the Scottish Executive what its response will be to the European Commission proposals to stop fish discards. (S3O-13209)

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government believes that discards of fish are a scandalous waste of resource brought about in large part by the failed common fisheries policy. We are committed to working towards the elimination of discards, and the initiatives that we have developed with the Scottish fishing industry and environmental non-governmental organisations are leading the way in Europe. I hope that the Commission will now make proposals that build on Scotland’s achievements.

Photo of Robin Harper Robin Harper Green

Given the cheerfully piratical disregard for any or most regulations designed to conserve our fish stocks that is exhibited by a substantial minority of Scottish skippers, is the minister confident that anything other than an overall reduction in the catching power of the European and Scottish fleets will deliver the possibility of our having a harvestable stock of fish left in Scottish waters in 20 years?

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

I remind the member, in light of his inaccurate information, that the current compliance rate among the Scottish fleet has never been better and that the Scottish white-fish fleet has halved the discard rate of North Sea cod since 2008, which is the biggest achievement in Europe. I suggest to the member that he investigate those facts and get his information right in future.