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Thread: The Real Fish Fight - Support Our Fishing Communities

  1. #91
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    Anifpo Kilkeel
    52 minutes ago ·

    West of Scotland Days:

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the street!

    On 19 November 2008, the Scottish Minister welcomed agreement on the EU's Long Term Cod Recovery Plan with the following,

    Speaking from Brussels, Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

    "The trailblazing approach to sustainable fisheries management adopted by Scotland's fishermen has been recognised and rewarded.

    "The agreement allows responsibility for much day-to-day fisheries management to be handed back to member states, and it rewards Scotland for the innovative approaches our industry has adopted as well as for past sacrifices.

    "Although the new target for reducing cod mortality is going to be extremely challenging, we have a head start thanks to the Scots fleet leading Europe when it comes to fisheries conservation, a fact that is now widely acknowledged."

    We can all make mistakes and below you can read what the same Scottish Minister thinks of the plan today. In the meantime he has made a positive step by allowing Scottish fishermen to counts their days in hours. As he states, this will not solve the problem for Scottish fishermen, but it is a positive step and one that should be followed by Northern Ireland's Fisheries Administration. Hence the following email, which we have just sent to DARD in Belfast:-

    You may already have seen today's announcement by Richard Lochead and Marine Scotland in relation to the management of their West Coast effort pot in 2013. I have copied it below. Of immediate interest to us is the way Scotland has decided to count their days/hours.

    We have debated this many times and we would again request that the same flexibility is extended to the Northern Ireland fleet, i.e. that our vessels can count their effort in hours. This has obvious advantages for our fleet, just like it does for the Scots.

    A decision to permit such an approach would be very timely as we get to the end of the first quarter of the days at sea year, when we have already agreed the Northern Ireland approach to West Coast effort would be reviewed.

    Thank you,

    Alan

    Days at sea allocated
    19/04/2013

    Marine Scotland has announced days at sea allocations for West Coast fishermen that will help to keep the fleet at sea throughout this year.

    The Scottish Government has listened hard to the concerns of fishermen. The need to allocate days at sea comes from the EU’s dysfunctional Cod Recovery Plan (CRP) that controls vessels’ time at sea even when they catch very little cod. The Scottish Government has been continually calling for the CRP to be substantially amended. The Government will call for the European Commission to take action to:

    Allow for the swift exemption from time at sea controls for vessels that catch very little cod, particularly where fishers are able to document low catches
    Remove the rigidities in the plan which prevent EU Member States from moving their allocations of time at sea between different sea areas so that days at sea can be better targeted on low cod impact fisheries
    Days at sea allocations for west coast prawn vessels will be equivalent to 95 per cent or more of the hours spent at sea on the west coast in 2009-2011, with a minimum rate of 110 days . The Scottish Government hopes to be able to return allocations to 100 per cent in 2014-2015 if uptake this year is managed as anticipated.

    These allocations mean that nearly 70 per cent of the west coast prawn fleet will either continue to be exempt from days at sea altogether or will face no reduction. The remainder will face a reduction of no more than 5 per cent in their normal time.

    The Government will also help skippers affected this year by reductions in time at sea. Skippers will be offered a new opportunity to become involved in paid science work connected to inshore fisheries and the marine environment on the west coast. This opportunity will be open to all skippers, but the Government hopes that the initiative will be of particular interest to skippers operating locally on the west coast by serving to make up income potentially lost from a reduction in their fishing time.

    Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

    “I have been meeting with fishermen from around the country to listen to their concerns. It is important for the west coast fishermen to have their time at sea to catch their prawn quotas.

    “The situation with the Cod Recovery Plan is extremely frustrating. I have been calling for changes to be made and will continue to do so. We need greater flexibility to manage the fisheries that move around our coast and I believe these prawn boats, which catch so little cod and have already put in place their own conservation measures, should be exempted from cod controls altogether.

    “This year’s allocations mean that some boats will experience a reduction of up to 5 per cent in the time at sea they have used in recent years. However I’m pleased that we are able to offer all skippers the opportunity to undertake paid science and research work. This will have the double benefit of making up potential income lost by vessels from a reduction in their time at sea while also giving us a better understanding of the fish stocks off the West Coast, allowing us to better manage a sustainable fishery for the future.”

  2. #92
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    http://www.sff.co.uk/node/730


    Decline in value of fish landings highlights severe economic pressures faced by Scottish fishing fleet

    19 April 2013

    Commenting on the release today (19 April) of provisional statistics by Scotland’s Chief Statistician which reveals that the overall quayside value of fish landed by the Scottish fleet in 2012 decreased by seven per cent, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said:

    “These latest fisheries statistics highlight the extremely difficult marketing conditions and low quayside prices being endured by the Scottish fleet. It should not be forgotten that this fall in the overall value comes at the time when the Scottish fleet is facing spiralling operational costs, including high fuel prices. Our fishing boats also have to adhere to incredibly tight restrictions on the number of fishing days allowed, which means that a good proportion of the fleet is teetering on the brink of economic viability.

    “The figures highlight more than ever the need for UK consumers to throw their support behind the fishing industry and buy more home-caught seafood, especially since Scottish fish is the sustainable choice with fishing pressure being at a record low and most stocks increasing.”

    The provisional figures show that the total value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2012 was £464 million, seven per cent lower than in 2011. This decrease in total landed value is the result of reductions in the overall value of all species types. There was little change in the volume of fish landed between 2011 and 2012. The tonnage of pelagic fish landed increased by four per cent, whilst shellfish landings decreased by five per cent. The tonnage of demersal species landed was similar to 2011.

    The statistics also reveal that that the number of active vessels in Scotland fell by two per cent and the number of fishermen employed decreased by five per cent.

    Mr Armstrong said: “While it is important that we have a fleet size that is in line with the available catching opportunity, the dwindling employment levels in fishing is a worrying trend and another indicator of the extreme economic pressures being faced by the industry. Our fishing sector supports crucial jobs for many coastal communities and provides an incredibly important renewable food resource, and all efforts must be maintained to ensure there is a viable future for the industry.”

  3. #93
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...s_similar.html

    Value of fish landings in Scotland decreases but volume remains similar
    Published: 19 April, 2013

    Provisional statistics published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician show that the overall quayside value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2012 decreased by seven per cent, compared with the record level in 2011.

    However, the value of fish landed remains higher than in the decade preceding 2011. The quantity of fish landed increased by one per cent.

    Scottish vessels landed 363,800 tonnes of fish with a value of £464 million.

    The total value of fish landed by Scottish vessels in 2012 was £464 million, seven per cent lower than in 2011. This decrease in total landed value is the result of reductions in the overall value of all species types. There was little change in the volume of fish landed between 2011 and 2012. The tonnage of pelagic fish landed increased by four per cent, whilst shellfish landings decreased by five per cent. The tonnage of demersal species landed was similar to 2011.

    The overall value of pelagic landings decreased by ten per cent to £166 million, driven by a 20 per cent decrease in the total value of mackerel compared with 2011. This decrease in mackerel value resulted from an eight per cent decrease in the volume landed and a 13 per cent decrease in the price. There were also observable changes in the split between domestic and foreign landings. Since 2011, the price of mackerel landed in the UK decreased by 18 per cent (to £939 per tonne), whilst the price of mackerel landed abroad decreased by seven per cent (to £1,008 per tonne). This price differential may be one factor explaining why the proportion of mackerel landed abroad increased from 42 per cent to 54 per cent in 2012.

    Despite the decrease in price of mackerel landed abroad, the total value of these landings increased by 10 per cent, to £73 million, due to an 18 per cent increase in the quantity landed. The total value of mackerel landed in the UK decreased by 40 per cent to £58 million. In contrast, herring landed in the UK experienced a marked increase in value of 71 per cent compared with 2011, reaching £29 million. Fifty-four thousand tonnes of herring was landed in 2012, an increase of 44 per cent, and the average price increased by 19 per cent.

    The overall value of demersal landings decreased seven per cent to £143 million. Haddock, hake and whiting showed an increase in value between 2011 and 2012 (four per cent, 19 per cent and one per cent, respectively). Hake was the only key demersal species to have a marked price increase. Haddock’s increased value resulted from a 25 per cent increase in the volume landed despite a price drop of 17 per cent. Whiting also saw a marked increase in the quantity landed (15 per cent), though price decreases resulted in only a minimal change in the value landed. The volume of landings of all other key demersal species either fell or were similar to 2011 quantities. Compared to 2011, the price of cod in 2012 reduced by 11 per cent to £1,982 per tonne, and consequently its overall quayside value decreased by seven per cent. Megrims, monkfish and plaice all notably decreased in overall value in 2012, compared to 2011.

    There was a five per cent decrease in the total value of shellfish to £155 million. 2012 saw a reduction in the value of all key shellfish species, excluding scallops, whose value was similar to that of 2011. A major reason for these reduced values were falls in the volumes landed. Due to decreased quantities landed, the values for edible crab, queen scallops and nephrops decreased in spite of increases in price during 2012 (by one per cent, three per cent and four per cent respectively). The other key shellfish species all experienced reductions in price. Those shellfish which are not regarded as key species were grouped together for the purposes of analysis. This aggregated group of shellfish increased in value during 2012 by 31 per cent from its 2011 value. This large increase was driven by a 23 per cent increase in the value of razor clams (£2 million). The value of razor clams accounts for 60 per cent of the value of the aggregated other shellfish group.

    Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "These statistics show that overall the volume of landings from the Scottish fleet held up well in 2012 despite the currently austere economic trading conditions.
    "Whilst the value of those landings dipped slightly compared with the previous year, given global market conditions, I'm glad to see it still remained second highest in the past 10 years. Higher quotas also helped to increase landings values in key stocks such as haddock and whiting.
    "The tough market conditions we are currently experiencing demonstrate the importance of adding value to the Scottish product and promoting it to markets both at home and across the world, an area in which we continue to work actively with the industry."

    Despite the reduction in the total value of mackerel from 2011, it is still the most valuable stock to the Scottish fleet, contributing 28 per cent to the total value of all stocks. Nephrops remains the most valuable shellfish and second most valuable stock, contributing 18 per cent to the total. Haddock is the most valuable demersal fish to the Scottish fleet.

    In 2012, the number of active fishing vessels based in Scotland was 2,044. This represents a decrease of 51 vessels (two per cent) from the previous year, to the lowest number of the decade.

    There were 599 over 10m vessels in the Scottish fleet. This is a reduction of 26 vessels from 2011, of which 14 were demersal vessels and 12 were shellfish vessels.

    During 2012, the number of under 10m vessels fell to 1,445. This is a decrease of 25 vessels from 2011, the majority of which (22) were creelers.


    At the end of 2012, the number of fishermen employed on Scottish fishing vessels had decreased five per cent from 2011, driven by a reduction in the regularly employed category. Of the 4,747 fishermen employed; 3,752 were regularly employed whilst 941 were employed irregularly and 54 were crofters.

    Quota uptake was high in 2012 for the major pelagic fish stocks, reaching or exceeding 99 per cent.

    Uptake of quota for demersal species in the North Sea varied slightly. Cod, haddock and saithe uptake reached at least 95 per cent, whilst whiting and plaice uptake was just under 90 per cent. By contrast, uptake of North Sea monkfish was 63 per cent, down 22 percentage points from last year.

    West of Scotland quota uptake for haddock (areas Vla, Vb), saithe and monkfish all exceeded 83 per cent and whiting uptake reached 102 per cent. Historically, West of Scotland quota for demersal species is often not all used.

    Quota uptake for West of Scotland nephrops was just over 93 per cent but uptake for North Sea nephrops reached only 55 per cent. This poor uptake in the North Sea was due to an unusually low nephrops population in the Fladdens.

    The Provisional Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics, 2012, can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/St...ishStatsTables

  4. #94
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    Thumbs up

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...vereignty.html

    Cry for fisheries sovereignty

    UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew demanded that the EU repatriate control of fishing to the member states, during a debate in the European Parliament on April 17, claiming that the EU "is not fit to run" the industry.

    Mr Agnew, who is UKIP's spokesman on fishing, highlighted the fact that the European Council has been blocking fisheries management since 2009, the entire life of the current Parliament.

    He stated: "To put in place what, in effect, delivers the tragedy of the commons and then perpetuate it, is a disaster; a tragedy whereby everyone exercises their rights but no one is prepared to exercise their responsibilities. Repatriation of fishing with exclusive 200 mile zones belonging to the country concerned would stop this nonsense once and for all.

    "It would also put a stop to the damaging back room deals in which fish are effectively traded on the basis of 'you scratch my back on this and I will scratch your back on that' - the very worst kind of local vote grabbing and the worst kind of politics, to which this institution is permanently addicted."

    He concluded his speech with a challenge to the EU: "You have had your chance and you have failed, please make way."

    The full speech can be viewed at: http://tinyurl.com/cke3p5x

  5. #95
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...allocated.html

    Days at sea allocated
    Published: 19 April, 2013

    Government working to minimise negative impact of Cod Recovery Plan

    Marine Scotland has announced days at sea allocations for West Coast fishermen that will help to keep the fleet at sea throughout this year.

    The Scottish Government has listened hard to the concerns of fishermen. The need to allocate days at sea comes from the EU’s dysfunctional Cod Recovery Plan (CRP) that controls vessels’ time at sea even when they catch very little cod. The Scottish Government has been continually calling for the CRP to be substantially amended. The Government will call for the European Commission to take action to:

    * Allow for the swift exemption from time at sea controls for vessels that catch very little cod, particularly where fishers are able to document low catches;

    * Remove the rigidities in the plan which prevent EU Member States from moving their allocations of time at sea between different sea areas so that days at sea can be better targeted on low cod impact fisheries.

    Days at sea allocations for west coast prawn vessels will be equivalent to 95 per cent or more of the hours spent at sea on the west coast in 2009-2011, with a minimum rate of 110 days . The Scottish Government hopes to be able to return allocations to 100 per cent in 2014-2015 if uptake this year is managed as anticipated.

    These allocations mean that nearly 70 per cent of the west coast prawn fleet will either continue to be exempt from days at sea altogether or will face no reduction. The remainder will face a reduction of no more than 5 per cent in their normal time.

    The Government will also help skippers affected this year by reductions in time at sea. Skippers will be offered a new opportunity to become involved in paid science work connected to inshore fisheries and the marine environment on the west coast. This opportunity will be open to all skippers, but the Government hopes that the initiative will be of particular interest to skippers operating locally on the west coast by serving to make up income potentially lost from a reduction in their fishing time.

    Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

    “I have been meeting with fishermen from around the country to listen to their concerns. It is important for the west coast fishermen to have their time at sea to catch their prawn quotas.

    “The situation with the Cod Recovery Plan is extremely frustrating. I have been calling for changes to be made and will continue to do so. We need greater flexibility to manage the fisheries that move around our coast and I believe these prawn boats, which catch so little cod and have already put in place their own conservation measures, should be exempted from cod controls altogether.

    “This year’s allocations mean that some boats will experience a reduction of up to 5 per cent in the time at sea they have used in recent years. However I’m pleased that we are able to offer all skippers the opportunity to undertake paid science and research work. This will have the double benefit of making up potential income lost by vessels from a reduction in their time at sea while also giving us a better understanding of the fish stocks off the West Coast, allowing us to better manage a sustainable fishery for the future.”

    Background

    * In relation to prawn fishing on the west coast, the allocation for each vessel based on the west coast will be a number of days equivalent 95 per cent of their average annual time at sea in 2009-11, with a minimum allocation of 110 days at sea.

    * Vessels based on the east coast will receive an allocation for west coast prawn fishing equivalent to 85 per cent of their time at sea in 2009-11, with no minimum allocation.

    * Scottish fishing vessels are able to count their time at sea in hours, so vessels going to fish for a day are able to use any hours unused in that day during a future voyage. If a voyage during a day takes 14 hours, for example, then 10 hours may be used on another occasion. A vessel receiving an allocation of 120 days, for example, in fact receives 2880 hours, which is equivalent to 205 fourteen hour voyages.

    * The increased use in 2012 was caused by an influx to the west coast of vessels normally more active in the North Sea. They moved because prawn fishing grounds in the North Sea were less abundant last year. In general, North Sea vessels are more able to go to the west coast than the other way around (because the west coast vessels are smaller, sometimes older and not always able to cope with conditions in the North Sea).

  6. #96
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    How the hell could anyone be happy with the way things are in the fishing just now?? Is this Lochhead a total and utter imbecile , for my money he is unfit for office if he thinks this is an acceptable situation to be in

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...ing-stats.html

    Lochhead happy with landing stats

    SCOTLAND's Fisheries Secretary, Richard Lochhead, has greeted the publication of the country's fish landing statistics with enthusiasm, although he stresses that adding value to fish products and their promotion abroad are essential given the tough market conditions.



    Speaking today he stated: "These statistics show that overall the volume of landings from the Scottish fleet held up well in 2012 despite the currently austere economic trading conditions. Whilst the value of those landings dipped slightly compared with the previous year, given global market conditions, I'm glad to see it still remained second highest in the past 10 years. Higher quotas also helped to increase landings values in key stocks such as haddock and whiting. The tough market conditions we are currently experiencing demonstrate the importance of adding value to the Scottish product and promoting it to markets both at home and across the world, an area in which we continue to work actively with the industry."

  7. #97
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    http://rayhblog.wordpress.com/myths/

    Ray Hilborn's web site


    Myths

    Fisheries science has been the unfortunate victim of a number of myths that have become widely accepted but are patently untrue. These myths include

    we are fishing down food chains
    all large fish in the oceans are depleted by 90%
    most of the worlds fisheries are overfished
    all fish stocks will be collapsed by 2048
    the “Ocean Health Index” assertion that France and Spain have the best managed fisheries in the world

    This page provides some comment on each of these

    Fishing Down Food Webs

    This myth was started by a paper in 1998 entitled “Fishing down marine food web” authored by Daniel Pauly and several others. The observation was that the mean trophic level of the worlds fish catch was declining as seen in the graph taken from Pauly’s paper. The authors then have gone on to argue that there is a common trend in fisheries, starting to fish at the top of the food chain, once those stocks are depleted, fishing fleets move down the food chain, and the net result is that soon nothing will be left in the ocean but jelly fish. The original paper, published in Science is one of the most commonly cited papers in fisheries and although this myth has been thoroughly debunked it continues to be widely believed, and Pauly and co-authors have an entire web site devoted to defending the idea.

    Three papers have shown the errors in both the analysis and also the implications as asserted by the authors. The first paper was published by Tim Essington and co-authors in 2006. Their paper showed that the decline of mean trophic level in most marine ecosystems was not that all the high-trophic level fish were gone, but that in fact catch of high trophic level fish continued to rise. The decline was due to increased yields of lower trophic level fish. So while this paper didn’t challenge the assertion that mean trophic level in the catch was declining, it showed that the assertion that the high trophic level fish were declining in catch was wrong.


    In 2010 Trevor Branch and colleagues published a paper in Nature showing that in fact, the mean trophic level in the world’s catch was rising, not falling, and that the decline Pauly had shown was due primarily to two species, the rebuilding of the Peruvian anchovetta stock (low trophic level), and the decline of catches of Atlantic cod. Worldwide the mean trophic level of the catch was rising, not falling. Branch also showed that if you look at the mean trophic level of fish in marine ecosystems, there was no overall decline in mean trophic levels. Branch pointed out that looking at any characteristic of catch, where it is total catch, or trophic level, is not necessarily a good measure of changes in the ecosystem itself since catches are rarely a random sample.

    The final paper that nailed the coffin on “fishing down marine food webs” was also published in 2010 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by Suresh Sethi, Trevor Branch and several others. Sethi began by asking a basic question — one that should have been asked by the proponents of fishing down a decade earlier. Are high trophic level species more valuable than low trophic level species? Remember the argument in support of fishing down is that fishing fleets begin with high trophic level species because they are more valuable.

    What Sethi and co-authors found was that there is no relationship between trophic level and the price or value of fish. Some of the most expensive fish in a marketplace are prawns, crabs, scallops and lobsters, all relatively low trophic level species. Even among higher trophic level fishes there is no correlation between trophic level and value. The mechanism that underlies the theory of fishing down food webs simply isn’t true. Sethi found that fisheries do not begin with high trophic level species, but instead the development of fisheries in different regions of the world is largely independent of trophic level.

    Fishing down food web — a Busted Myth.

    Pauly, D., V. Christensen, J. Dlasgaard, R. Froese, and F. Torres Jr. 1998. Fishing down marine food webs. Science 279:860-863.
    Essington, T. E., A. H. Beaudreau, and J. Wiedenmann. 2006. Fishing through marine food webs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103:3171-3175.
    Branch, T. A., R. Watson, E. A. Fulton, S. Jennings, C. R. McGilliard, G. T. Pablico, D. Ricard, and S. R. Tracey. 2010. The trophic fingerprint of marine fisheries. Nature 468:431-435.
    Sethi, S. A., T. A. Branch, and R. Watson. 2010. Global fishery development patterns are driven by profit but not trophic level. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107:12163-12167.

    __________________________________________________ ____________________________

    All large fish in the oceans are depleted by 90%

    This myth began with a 2003 paper in Nature entitled “Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities” in which the authors, Ransom Myers and Boris Worm, used a large body of Japanese tuna fleet longline records to show that the catch per hook declined very rapidly when the fishery began across a range of species, and that by 1980 catch per hook around the world was roughly only 10% of what it had been in the 1950s when the fishery began. This was taken as evidence of depletion of the oceans of tunas and relatives, and is the basis for repeated statements that 90% of the fish of the ocean are gone.

    This paper caused an enormous controversy because this decline in longline CPUE had been known for a long time by scientists working on tunas and it was widely recognized NOT to reflect changes in abundance. Rebuttals were rapid and rather vehement, Carl Walters entitled his rebuttal “Folly and fantasy in the analysis of spatial catch rate data.” In 2006 John Sibert and colleagues published a paper in Science showing that abundance of large tunas and other species in the Pacific had not declined by anything like 90% by 2000, and had hardly declined at all by 1980. Further they showed that for these species in the Pacific the stocks were generally at or above the management target levels that produce maximum sustainable yield



    To some extent the last word on this issue was a paper published in 2010 in PNAS by Juan-Jorda and colleagues. They showed that globally tuna stocks by 2010 were at 40-50% of their unfished abundance, still generally at or above target levels, and that in 1980, when Myers and Worm had argued tuna had declined by 90%, in fact tuna stocks had been depleted only slightly and were at 80% of their unfished abundance.

    The myth that fish stocks have been depleted to only 10 or 20% of the original abundance based on the tuna and bilfish of the high seas is another BUSTED MYTH.

    Myers, R. A. and B. Worm. 2003. Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities. Nature 423:280-283.
    Walters, C. J. 2003. Folly and fantasy in the analysis of spatial catch rate data. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 60:1433-1436.
    Sibert, J., J. Hampton, P. Kleiber, and M. Maunder. 2006. Biomass, Size, and Trophic Status of Top Predators in the Pacific Ocean. Science 314:1773-1776.
    Juan-Jorda, M. S., I. Mosqueira, A. B. Cooper, J. Freire, and N. K. Dulvy. 2011. Global population trajectories of tunas and their relatives. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108:20650-20655.

  8. #98
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    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...ine-protection


    Scientists attack government climbdown on marine protection

    Academics warn government it could be condemning marine environment to 'years of overexploitation and degradation'




    The UK's top marine scientists have denounced government ministers for reneging on plans to protect marine life by banning the most destructive fishing and dredging in the seas around the British Isles.

    Sealife, including fish, lobsters, oysters and seahorses, has been in rapid decline for years. A two-year, £8m consultation involving thousands of people and the government's own scientific advisers concluded that 127 marine protection zones (MPZs) were needed to halt the decline. But the environment minister, Richard Benyon rejected this advice, proposing instead to establish just 31 MPZs, none of which would be completely protected.

    The issue is one of a series in which environment ministers have been attacked for rejecting scientific advice, including its proposed badger cull, described as "mindless" by the architect of a landmark £20m culling study, and its refusal to suspend the use of pesticides linked to serious harm in bees against the advice of the European Food Safety Authority.

    Now 86 environmental academics have written to Benyon, David Cameron and the environment secretary, Owen Paterson urging them to beef up their plans for protection.

    "We have seen spectacular devastation in the Irish sea in the last 20 years, for example, due to scallop dredging and prawn trawling. As fish stocks get ever more squeezed, the use of ever more destructive gear is spreading. This is happening now and protection is long overdue," said Professor Callum Roberts, at the University of York and one of the experts. "Even if all 31 MPZs were established, it will fall far short of what is needed to recover and safeguard English seas. The process has been seriously mishandled, potentially condemning the marine environment to many more years of overexploitation and degradation."

    Roberts said: "There is a strong suspicion among my colleagues that the government has yielded to political pressure from the fishing industry, in effect handing them control over a process that was meant to be democratic and inclusive."

    The letter was signed by five of the eight scientists on a panel set up by ministers that backed the 127 MPZs. But Benyon hit back directly, saying those scientists "actually sat on the panel that told us there was not enough evidence to designate all 127 sites. This is not a numbers game and it is not about just drawing lines on a map - it would have been easy for me to do that and we would have ended up sitting in an EU court room defending the fact we created MPZs without the science to back them up."

    Previously, Benyon defended his decision by citing the economic importance of fisheries, sand and gravel dredging, and marine renewable energy, and saying: "It is proportionate and is not going to put anyone out of business."

    But Roberts rejected Benyon's "spin", telling the Guardian that the scientific panel never said there was insufficient evidence. "Using the best available evidence is an essential element of the precautionary principle, whereby we should act now to prevent further harm and to begin the process of recovery rather than wait for better data, by which time it may be too late."

    Jean-Luc Solandt, from the Marine Conservation Society, said: "In its cut-down form, there will be no real network and the opportunity to give English marine life the protection it desperately needs will be missed. In a time of economic gloom, we actually have an opportunity to bring back the wealth that productive, well cared-for seas have to offer." But ministers were being timid and failing to show any green credentials, he said.

    Sea creatures at risk without new protection include native oysters, black bream, spiny lobsters, lagoon sand shrimps and short snouted seahorses, according to Solandt. The Wildlife Trusts are also "bitterly disappointed by the lack of ambition" from ministers. It warned that iconic sites such as Flamborough and Studland and a unique chalk reef at Cromer were missing from the government's list.

    The letter from scientists, made public on Monday, said: "In 2010, your government committed to creating 'an ecologically coherent network' of areas [to] protect and recover the richness and productivity of our waters." It calls on ministers to re-commit to establishing all 127 MPZs.

    Benyon said: "Rather than jumping on the bandwagon and lobbying government, I would ask these scientists to focus their attention on gathering more evidence so we can designate more sites in the future."

    But Tom Harris, Labour's shadow environment minister said: "There is mounting frustration over the agonisingly slow pace of reform under this government. The minister has contradicted his own scientific advice by using the need for more evidence within a minority of sites to justify a drastic cut in the overall number of MPZs."

    Paul Trebilcock, chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, said: "We are very concerned that some nature conservation groups are lobbying for full implementation of all 127 sites, regardless of scientific evidence or the socio-economic impact. We are absolutely adamant that naive enthusiasm should not railroad the government into premature and hasty decisions."

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    http://www.kis-orca.eu/

    New reference site for cables , offshore renewables , etc

  10. #100
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    http://www.sff.co.uk/node/731


    SFF represented at regional workshops on Marine Protected Areas

    22 April 2013

    Today (22 April) sees the commencement of a series of Regional Workshops in advance of the Public Consultation on the proposals for a Network of Marine Protected Areas in Scotland.

    Following earlier representation and discussion with Marine Scotland it was agreed that there was a need for an opportunity to support discussion with stakeholders about potential relevant management measures that may be considered for each of the proposed MPAs within Scotland's territorial waters.

    The first meeting kicks off in Lerwick on the evening of 22 April. Marine Scotland hopes to provide information on the Data Confidence Assessments for each MPA as well as Management Option Papers for some of the key areas.

    Malcolm Morrison and Kenny Coull of SFF will be attending the series of meetings along with their Constituent Associations with interests in the area.

    Meetings are scheduled for;

    Lerwick: 22 April

    Kirkwall: 24 April

    Stornoway: 25 April

    Campbeltown: 30 April

    Oban: 1 May

    Ullapool: 9 May

    Troon: 13 May

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