David Jardine, parliamentary candidate for the Scottish Green Party for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, has responded to the latest figures on illegal fish landings by calling for greater local control over fisheries.
Mr Jardine said: “It has been proven all over the world that the long-term solution to the problem of illegal fishing is to give more power to local fishermen to manage their resources, but in Europe we have consistently failed to achieve this. As a result Scottish waters are being over-fished and the illegal market is flourishing.
“I estimate that the reported £80 million of illegal white-fish could be up to 40% of the total catch, which is dreadful, but as long as our fishing boats feel that they are in a free-for-all competition for fish in Scottish waters we will never get on top of the illegal fish landings.
“We need governance of our fishing that is based on sound science of fish stocks, coupled with local fishing boats empowered to fish responsibly. To achieve this will require the government to start by listening to local fishing communities. It will also require radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in Europe, not just tinkering around the edges, and to replace the weak Regional Advisory Groups with Regional Management Groups with real powers.
“The Scottish Green Party is the champion of local community control over marine resources. This is why my colleague Robin Harper amended the legislation on National Parks to enable us to have Marine National Parks, which would enable local communities to decide how their marine resources are managed, and why Eleanor Scott MSP is supporting the people in Wester Ross and Fair Isle and the Southern Hebrides who want Marine National Parks in their area. It is why we have supported initiatives like Integrated Coastal Zone Management with strong community involvement. It is why we back Regulating Orders that give local shell-fishing boats the authority to exclude outsiders and thus control their local stocks and catches.
“Sustainable fisheries is about thinking about future generations, of both fish and fishermen. This is what Greens will deliver and I believe this is what our fishing communities want.”