CCTV installed on fishing boats under scheme to reduce discards
Closed-circuit television is to be installed on a number of Scottish fishing boats under a pilot scheme designed to cut down on the volume of fish being thrown back into the sea.
It is estimated that 45 per cent of North Sea cod caught last year was discarded and 50 per cent of haddock caught off the west coast of Scotland in recent years was put back.
Seven boats will participate in the £100,000 project which it is hoped will act as an incentive to skippers to comply with the rules. It will also improve monitoring of stocks.
Scottish fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said a similar scheme in Denmark had already been hugely successful in cutting down on discards.
“The scandal of dumped fish has shot up the agenda since we held our discards summit and revealed that around £40 million worth of marketable fish is thrown back into the North Sea every year.
“This is a hugely exciting initiative using cutting edge technology that can make a substantial contribution to scientific data, fisheries management behaviour and discards reduction.
“Any discarding is a scandalous waste of a valuable and legitimate food resource and I am determined to support measures to ultimately eliminate such practices from the fishing industry.”
The fishing industry in Scotland believes there is a huge mismatch between the quota available for North Sea cod and current stocks.
Mike Park, executive chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, said: “While some skippers see remote monitoring aboard vessels as a threat there are others that clearly see its merits, giving confidence to both the managers and the consumers.
“We now live in a world where confidence of source is a prominent pillar of the supply chain. The catching sector has to respond according to those requirements.”
No Shetland boats are involved in the scheme.