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Sustainable fishermen land big opportunity

25 November 2014

Fishing boats bringing benefits to local communities and conserving UK seas must be rewarded with more opportunities to fish, according to a new report out today.

The study by the Institute for European Environmental Policy for the RSPB, recommends that boats which best meet a new set of environmental, social and economic criteria should receive a ‘quota bonus’.

The reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requires Member States to change the way they allocate ‘fishing opportunities’, namely quota, and how many days a boat is allowed to fish for it.

Until now, UK fishermen have been given permission to fish based on ‘historic catch records’. The new legislation states that those boats which bring social and economic benefits to local communities, without damaging the marine environment, should have more opportunities to fish than others.

The RSPB is now calling on the UK Governments to explain exactly how they will meet with this requirement to reward our ‘best’ fishermen, who have the least environmental impact.

Following interviews with the fishing industry and Governments, the report recommends ways in which the environmental benefits of the current system of quota allocation can be preserved while doing more to encourage environmentally friendly fishing.

Kara Brydson, Head of Marine Policy for RSPB Scotland said:” The way we dish out fishing opportunities must change if our Governments are to comply with the new laws to reward and encourage environmentally friendly fishing practises which benefit local communities and economies, and delivers healthy seas rich in marine life. 2015 will see huge changes in fisheries management, with effective Marine Protected Areas, the introduction of the Discard Ban and new targets for sustainable fishing. Allocating quota based on historic records alone is no way to manage modern fisheries and fails to reward those who work sustainably.”