SFA has responded to details of the fisheries agreements on fishing opportunities for 2022 between the UK, EU and Norway
Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) has responded to details of fisheries agreements for 2022 by demanding “a complete shake-up” of the scientific advice process that underpins international negotiations on fishing quotas.
“We’re sick and tired of going through the same process every year,” said Simon Collins, SFA Executive Officer. “Wildly erratic stock assessments – often both ways – are held up as sacred truths, despite massive revisions from one year to the next by the people producing them. We are then left working with our national governments to minimise completely unnecessary damage to a perfectly sustainable and valuable industry.”
Together with the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association, SFA called earlier this year for an independent panel of experts to examine the credibility of quota advice issued every year by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
“It’s no good referring to ‘the best available science’ when that science simply isn’t good enough. Given the lack of alternative views taken into account, it’s also ‘the worst available science’,” added Collins.
“It’s why we’ve ended up, despite the commendable efforts of Scottish and UK negotiators, with quotas for 2022 – particularly on North Sea cod – that bear little or no resemblance to the abundances of fish observed on our grounds. The outlook for our whitefish fleet in particular is very challenging as a result, and for no credible reason.
“The whole scientific advice process requires a complete shake-up, to the benefit not only of the fishing industry but of our understanding of a dynamic marine environment.”
The SFA was quick to assert that the outcomes for quotas next year would have been even more testing had the UK remained in the European Union.
“We know from long and bitter experience how little account EU negotiators take of industry views and even simple common sense,” said Collins. “At least we now have negotiators in Edinburgh and London that work hard to get the best results they can in the circumstances, and to whom we can actually speak. In that respect at least we are looked upon with envy by our former EU colleagues.”
Source: Press Release