Fishing industry call for panel to assess ‘wild swings’ in catch advice

Scotland’s two largest fishing associations have urged Scottish ministers to form a special panel to assess “wild swings” in catch advice.

The Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) and the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association (SWFPA) want an independent body to assess recommendations from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

SFA executive officer Simon Collins said it was essential that any catch advice was “informed by science”.

“Unfortunately, the advice produced by ICES can turn out to be erroneous, resulting in unnecessary damage to the fishing industry and the communities that depend on it.”

The associations argue that insufficient account is taken of the often “shaky foundations” on which ICES stock assessments are made, with most derived from computer models and complex mathematical algorithms.

Mr Collins said that “vast swings” in stock advice can result from tweaks to these models, often to the “severe detriment” to local fishermen.


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