"Scientifically, it makes no difference whether a thousand tonnes of fish are caught by one large freezer trawler or by 100 inshore fishing boats"
Scientifically, it makes no difference whether a thousand tonnes of fish are caught by one large freezer trawler or by 100 inshore fishing boats. What is important, both for scientific stock assessments and the long-term sustainability of the stock, is that every tonne caught of both target and non-target species is recorded and reported accurately.
Logistically, this is easier with a small fleet of larger vessels than with a myriad of smaller vessels. The larger vessels’ activities are subject to satellite surveillance, they make daily catch returns through electronic logbooks and their landings are subject to port authority scrutiny. The rigour with which these methods and measures have been applied in recent years has made a fundamental contribution to the recovery of many NE Atlantic fish stocks such that their level of exploitation is now consistent with the concept of maximum sustainable yield. This is reflected in the number offisheries gaining Marine Stewardship Council certification – the gold standard for sustainable exploitation and management.”
Stephen Lockwood BSc PhD CBiol FRSB, independent fisheries scientist