The Fishing Daily Podcast Season 3 Episode 04 – Mike Park OBE of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA) speaks to Oliver McBride about 2022 and looking forward to 2023 when Mike believes 2023 could be a crucial year for Scottish whitefish.
2023 could prove crucial year for Scottish whitefish believes SWFPA Chief
The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement has not delivered the Brexit that was promised, and Scottish fisherman have found themselves struggling with the after-effects of Brexit and the COVID-19 lockdown for two years, then the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 caused fuel costs to soar, leaving boat owners with further challenges. The “Sea of Opportunity” that was offered to UK fishermen, under banner of the poster boys for Brexit, has long faded away and instead the optimism that was there has dissipated. Instead the poster boys are facing displacement from their traditional fishing grounds by the same politicians who used them and have been cast as enemies of the environment as marine protected areas and offshore wind developments are the new vogue.
“That sort of legacy from Brexit that you know we should be in a better position than we are. We’re still trying to shake that off. We were the poster boys during those Brexit discussions, and here we are, three years after it, almost to the day, and pretty much other than the ideological political aspiration of saying we’re a coastal state. In terms of the amount of fish we get to catch, in terms of shares, we are no better off. So that’s still a negative in there that will take to shake off,” Mike tells Oliver.
Where there may be negatives for 2022, Mike does see some positives for 2023 in things like the cooperation between fisheries science and the fishing industry itself. He says:
“We still don’t have a deal with the Faroes, and because of the reduction in anglerfish, our vessels are desperately needing onto Faroe grounds this year. So, we still need to get the Faroe deal over the line.”
One of the negatives that was left over from 2022 was the fact that Scottish boats did not catch their full quotas on some stocks, not because they couldn’t catch the fish, but because there wasn’t the processing available onshore.
On the positive side, there was an increase in quota for several stocks with cod increasing 63% in the recommended catch limit. Other important whitefish stocks like saithe and haddock also saw increases.
Mike also discusses issues concerning fisheries science, transit migrant workers visa, the spatial squeeze and the pressure being put on the industry to stop using fossil fuels, but are there any viable alternatives? Mike says it’s not up to the industry itself to make that change as it lies in the j=hands of the engine manufacturers.
Listen to the podcast to find out more …
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