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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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LOCAL BOATS LEADING THE WAY IN FIGHT AGAINST DISCARDS

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

WHITEFORD AND SALMOND WELCOME INNOVATIVE APPROACH

The first trial of new selective fishing gears underway in the North Sea, as part of the SNP Government's 'land more, catch less' approach, has been welcomed by SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford and local MP Alex Salmond. The Fraserburgh-registered Caspian, a whitefish boat, is one of five vessels taking part. Both whitefish and prawn gears will be used in the trials.

On Friday the Caspian started using equipment which prevents unwanted cod from being discarded, whilst at the same time allowing groundfish such as monkfish and megrim to be caught.

The move is the latest initiative in the SNP Scottish Government's drive to allow our fishermen to land more of what they catch and to end the waste of discards.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

"These trials are to be welcomed as they will help tackle the sheer waste of discards, and allow fishermen to gain more days at sea. At a time when our fishing industry is under a lot of financial pressure, with the effects of the recession compounding the underlying problems caused by European regulations, this scheme will help ensure our fishing industry remains both economically and environmentally sustainable."

Alex Salmond MP added:

“The Scottish Government has already provided £95,000 for the development of the highly selective gear known as the 'Orkney Trawl'. This is now being used by whitefish boats to help fish more sustainably and also to boost their days at sea under the cod recovery plan.

”When fully developed, the new selective gears will allow Scottish fishermen to buy back additional days at sea through the Conservation Credits Scheme in the 2010/11 fishing year.

“By taking innovative measures such as this, along with help from the Scottish Government, our fleet can help to end wasteful discarding. Once more, Scotland is leading the way in ensuring that our fisheries can be a sustainable resource into the future.”

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