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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-09573: Claudia Beamish (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 1 June 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to improve the environmental sustainability of fisheries.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 6 June 2017

Each Autumn, the Scottish Government participates in the suite of international negotiations that set fishing levels for quota stocks for the coming year. The Government's negotiating position is underpinned by a set of long-standing guiding principles that include following the best available scientific advice, supporting a progressive move towards 'Maximum Sustainable Yield' fishing levels for all stocks, and maintaining stocks above safe biological limits and in good reproductive health.

As a result of this approach, Scottish sea fisheries are now more sustainable than they were in 2007. For 2016, of 19 key Scottish stocks, 13 (70%) were fished at or very close to being fished at the appropriate MSY rate, compared to 40% in 2007. Biomass is also steadily improving with 14 of these stocks (74%) currently above defined biomass safety levels.

This improving management means that more fish can be landed, with 19 per cent more landed in 2015 as compared to 2007. This has clear economic and social benefits for the fishing industry and the communities that depend on it.