scottish fishermen's good food

The MCS has responded to criticism from the fishing and seafood industry over recent recommendations in their ‘Guide Fish Guide’

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has responded to claims from the fishing industry over recent recommendations in their ‘Guide Fish Guide’ saying they extensively research every seafood rating.

Criticism has been levelled that some of the recommendations of the ‘Guide’ with the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and the Scottish Seafood

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has hit out the Marine Conservation Society’s “Good Food Guide” saying that it does not hide its dislike of mobile fishing such as trawling when it put monkfish on the list is one of its endangered species.

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SFF Chief Elspeth Macdonald said, “so its new ratings on species such as monkfish don’t surprise the fishing industry – they are what we have come to expect from an organisation that would prefer that wild capture fishing didn’t exist, and campaigns endlessly to end what is a legitimate and highly regulated means of food production.”

Jimmy Buchan, Chief of the Scottish Seafood Association accused the organisation of misinforming consumers and putting jobs at risk with its “assessments of fish to avoid.”

“The Marine Conservation Society urges consumers not to buy crab and lobster because of alleged concerns about whales becoming entangled in gear. Yet” he said, “there is very little evidence of this being a significant problem and  where risks have been identified the industry is working collaboratively to minimise any impact.”

Harris fisherman Donald Maclennan also took issue with the ‘Good Fish Guide’ saying, “The Western Isles coastal region is 22% of Scotland’s inshore seas by area. We have a proactive approach to shellfish management, including seasonal closures, fisherman driven landing sizes and a pot management zone that we have been working towards for 20 years. Yet the MCS says there’s no management on Scotland’s west coast. They’ve had zero engagement with Marine Scotland or local fishing industry representatives. Utter denialism and complete contempt for all of us who go about our business in a legal law-abiding manner, whether it’s going out in a 16-footer or a 30-metre trawler.”

When The Fishing Daily put Mr Maclennan’s complaint to the Marine Conservation Society Charlotte Coombes, Good Fish Guide Manager at the Marine Conservation Society said:

“We’re very supportive of the good work already underway to make some desperately needed improvements to the sustainability of UK seafood.

“Our team extensively research every seafood rating following detailed methodologies that are published on our website.  Our ratings, which are updated twice a year, are produced using the latest available scientific data and information. This is a snapshot of the state of our seas and when we see improvements as a result of government or industry action, this will be reflected in the Good Fish Guide.

“The more data we have about what’s happening at sea, the better informed we all are about how sustainable our seafood is. The reasons behind our ratings, and details of all the data and reports we have used when making our decisions, are online.

“Prior to publishing our ratings, we openly welcome feedback via a public consultation. Our mailing list is the best way to find out about these consultations via [email protected]. We publicise every consultation on our website for full transparency.”

by Oliver McBride

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