Scotland touts fishery policies to EU

March 15, 2011 at 9:44 AM
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BRUSSELS, March 15 (UPI) -- Scotland is pressing its European partners to realize the benefits of better management policies in its fisheries sector, the fisheries secretary said.

Scotland aims to advance a "discard-free future" before members of the European Parliament in Brussels.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said the European community is at "a critical stage" when it comes to fisheries management.

"This is one centered on involving our fishermen to find workable solutions by rewarding sustainable fishing," he said in a statement. "This is the only way that we can achieve a viable future for fishing in Europe."

Edinburgh said it has credit schemes in place that require fishing vessels to use more selective gear to avoid reeling in smaller and unwanted fish. This allows vessels to spend more time at sea, the government said.

Trials under way would let fisherman enjoy a greater catch quota provided there are no discards.

"Scotland efforts to address the issue have seen discards by our whitefish fleet reduce by half over the past two years -- the greatest reductions achieved in the EU," said Lochhead. "Quite rightly, therefore, Scotland is sharing its experience in tackling discards and the merits of greater regionalization in fisheries management within Europe."

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