Eilidh Whiteford



Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A trial scheme currently being piloted on a number of Scottish trawlers involving the voluntary use of CCTV has been hailed for its 'impressive results'.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead is now seeking additional catch quota opportunities for vessels using CCTV next year. He said that developing more intuitive means of counting effort as actual fishing time, not just time away from port, is also a priority. He said this is 'potentially a major step' in raising awareness of the benefits of CCTV as a management tool.

Speaking at a conference recently, the Fisheries Secretary said that a Scottish CCTV pilot launched in August involving seven vessels is already producing 'hugely impressive' results. This type of initiative rewards management measures, whilst at the same time cutting discards.

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford welcomed the progress being made on the issue and said:

"The initial results of this trial are very promising. I hope that the Danish and Scottish experience of CCTV will provide enough justification to allow a trial of a catch quota system next year.

"Scotland has already designed and implemented measures to improve fisheries management, and I am proud to see them at the forefront of developing new thinking for the future. The European Commission must keep an open mind to allow Scotland to demonstrate innovative fisheries management.

"Further cuts in quota are due to come in next year that will have a serious impact on our white fish fleet. Doing nothing is not an option. Those who stand on the sidelines complaining about the CCTV pilot scheme need to tell us what they would do instead."

Commenting, 'Fairline' skipper John Buchan, who is taking part in the pilot scheme said:

"The reason for having the CCTV is to open the possibility of being able to land more fish as a result. With cutbacks on the cards for whitefish next year, I need to keep my business viable.

"This is a voluntary scheme, and I put my name forward for it. It's all very well to complain about CCTV, but what would those complaining propose instead? The situation with discards is an absolute disgrace and CCTV cameras are the only viable proposal put forward so far.

"We should also remember that retailers increasingly want assurances about the sustainability of their supplies, which this also help ensure."

Commenting on the local Tory candidate's claim that the voluntary CCTV scheme was an invasion of privacy, Peterhead councillor Stephen Smith added:

"I'm impressed with the commitment of skippers like John Buchan to volunteer for this because they feel it will help their industry. It really is quite comical for a star of reality television who invited an entire camera crew on his boat to film for primetime TV to complain about a pilot scheme aimed at helping the industry as an invasion of privacy!"

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