A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

CFP, Article 17

”When allocating the fishing opportunities available to them, as referred to in Article 16, member states shall use transparent
and objective criteria including those of an environmental, social and economic nature. The criteria to be used may include,
inter alia, the impact of fishing on the environment, the history of compliance,the contribution to the local economy and historic
catch levels. Within the fishing opportunities allocated to them, member states shall endeavour to provide incentives to fishing
vessels deploying selective fishing gear or using fishing techniques with reduced environmental impact, such as reduced energy
consumption or habitat damage.”
The above is Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy and the paper  written by Chris Williams and Griffin Carpenter of the NEF uses this and the objectives of the Scottish Government shown below, used in relevance to the inshore fisheries, to show that spatial management to promote use of selective fishing gear favours better economic, environmental and hence social comparisons to current practices.
Five strategic objectives of the Scottish Government which includes fishing.
Wealthier and fairer: Enable people and businesses to increase their wealth and for more people to share more fairly in that wealth.
 Smarter: To expand opportunities for Scots to succeed from nurture to life long learning ensuring higher and more widely shared achievements
Healthier: Help people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring local and faster access to health care.
Safer and stronger: Help local communities to flourish,becoming stronger, safer place to live,offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life.
Greener: Improve Scotland’s natural and built environment and the sustainable use and enjoyment of it.
The paper is wide-ranging and uses current data already in the public domain that shows the creel fishery is less damaging to the environment, discards are few, value of catch is based on quality and not bulk, science showing smarter use of the resource. As ever there has to be improvements to the way we fish, release of berried females, control of creel numbers, size of langoustine landed and other methods introduced to mitigate against other marine users and mammals.
The paper does a summary of objectives and on a scale of 1 to 5 the creel fishery comes out on top in most categories. The transparency of the paper is important and all the criteria are listed and are as close to the objectives as are possible, ensuring that environmental, economic and social are all treated on an equal basis.
Basically the study compares to those already done in the Barents Sea to ones done in Portugal and Sweden, concluding that the more passive the fishing method the better the overall performance. As other studies have shown the creel fishery has little impact on the benthic environment. The paper is well worth a read and is getting a press outing this week. The only response so far is that the SFF think it is divisive, something you could say the Inshore Fisheries Act of 1984 is. So nothing new there. The link is http://b.3cdn.net/nefoundation/21d024b2ce367cac07_ybm6bd667.pdf and as I say well worth a read.
One of the things I enjoy so much is the variety I see in a day at sea. It was an early start, just after 5am, to get the langoustine up to the Inn for delivery to Loch Ness Inn, breakfast and then out before 7am. Beautiful calm morning
and saw a couple of porpoises heading south
and then noticed that gannets were diving and a small pod were working some fish off to the port side.
Great to watch and signs are looking hopeful that the Sound is healthy fish wise this year. Small rafts of guillemots and razorbills are appearing and the seals seem to be prospering. Taking just what you need and not what you want fits this environment. The variety continues with the first silver darling of the year, hermit living in a “hobbit” home
and colour in the ferns coming up in the shallower waters.
Not sure of the provenance of this little bod, must struggle to get around.
Successful day on the fishing front thrown in and a fleet not hauled for quite some time sorted out without too much hassle. Not only that but hooked up the 10 creels I had lost earlier in the year. In and landed by 3pm and a little nervous at the crowds at the Inn. Langoustine and scallops are going out as fast as they are being landed so another day at sea proposed for tomorrow and looks like being followed by some strenuous hours at the Inn. Missing out on the Community Land Conference in Stornoway today and tomorrow. But needs must at the Inn, not a weekend one can have off in all consciousness,  and being amongst all those community land owners while we have not a scrap gets a little depressing.

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