Harper Warns SNP Cod Plan Could Reduce Stocks To Danger Levels Unless Action Is Taken To Reduce Discarding

Green MSP Robin Harper, speaking in advance of tomorrows annual fisheries debate, warned that SNP plans to support an increase in the total allowable catch of cod by up to 15% will result in cod stocks being reduced to danger levels, unless effective action is taken to reduce the dumping of out-of-quota fish.

Robin Harper said:

“Due to years of over-fishing Scotland’s cod stocks are still way below what they should be. We are now seeing small signs of recovery, but this must not be undermined if we are to have sustainable stocks for the future. Too many cod are being caught by boats fishing for other things, such as prawns, and then thrown over the side because there is no quota to land them. If there are any increases in cod quota, they must be accompanied by real action to ensure fisherman use gear that reduces the accidental catching of cod, and the introduction of an effective quota system for prawn fishermen and the like for any cod they do catch”

Harper added

“For many years I have been campaigning for an effective system of preserving young cod so they can reach maturity and help to rebuild a viable population. We need a system of closed areas, both at specific times and in specific places to protect the young fish. With these measures in place we can build a sustainable future for Scotland’s fishing communities as well as Scotland’s fish. Without fish there will be no fishing, without fishing no fishing communities”

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