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Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael raised the frustration facing fishermen regarding data-deficient monkfish

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called on ministers to acknowledge the frustration faced by fishermen that valuable monkfish stocks are still regarded as “data-deficient”.

Data-deficient species of fish pose greater challenges for the setting of quotas, as the lack of information on numbers makes it hard to reasonably reflect the potential catch in fishing grounds. Monkfish is a key stock for Scottish and in particular Shetland fishermen.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Carmichael asked:

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“Does he share my frustration that after so many years, monkfish is still regarded as a data-deficient species, given its very high value to the Scottish fleet?”

Responding, the Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer MP said:

“It’s very easy to be critical of the data and the science, but he will know that fish move in the sea; it’s not like you’re counting sheep in a field, it is much more complicated than that. Fish predate on one another and a boom in one species can result in a diminishing number of another. It is a constantly moving feast that we are trying to measure.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“Given the importance of monkfish as a valued stock it is hard to see why so many years on we still cannot get the data necessary to move this species out of the data-deficient category. Fishermen themselves are champing at the bit to do their part and get the data needed – all they need is some support and interest from ministers.”

Source: Press Release

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Carmichael raises challenges with data-deficient monkfish in fisheries debate

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