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Sustainable Fisheries

Net gains – Solutions for sustainable fishing in the EU

In 2009, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) took a journey around some of Europe’s wild fisheries to meet those who were taking positive steps to improve the health of our seas and ensure a secure livelihood for their communities. One of the initiatives featured in the resulting Net Gains film produced was the inventive solution of jigging utilised by Scottish pelagic vessels to minimise discards of mackerel. To see this chapter of the Net Gains film, please follow the following link:



Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group

SPFA is committed to ‘supporting the sustainable fishing of pelagic stocks’ and takes its responsibilities in this area very seriously. The Association was a founder member of the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG) established in 2007 to take forward a number of sustainability initiatives emanating from the joint industry/departmental Pelagic Strategy Group.

SPSG has since published its own sustainability policy, co-funded scientific research, introduced a fleet-wide initiative for the sampling of mackerel schools through automated ‘jigging’, supported the Scottish pelagic processing protocol and promoted the Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme to member vessels.

SPSG recognised the importance of fisheries being independently certified as being sustainable and entered its North Sea herring and Western mackerel fisheries for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification in 2007. North Sea herring was accredited in July 2008 and Western mackerel was the first large-scale mackerel fishery to meet the standard in January 2009.

In March 2010, SPSG celebrated certification of its Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery making it a hat-trick of Scottish pelagic fisheries meeting the MSC standard. This was followed by West of Scotland herring MSC certification being achieved in April 2012. The launch of this certificate was held during Brussels seafood expo where EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki presented the certificate to Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group chairman, John Goodlad.

Ian Gatt is a director of and company secretary to SPSG.

Further details of all SPSG initiatives can be found at www.scottishpelagicsg.org


SFF Sustainable Fisheries Committee

The Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) sustainable fisheries committee was set up as an effective way for the Federation to deal with the many environmental and science issues the Scottish fishing industry faces. The committee membership consists of representatives from each of the Federation’s nine constituent associations along with the two external members from Marine Scotland and Science and Conservation divisions. The committee meets five times per year and reports back to the SFF executive committee. The SFF environmental statement was produced to help promote the Federation’s sustainable credentials and explains industry action on promoting selectivity, reducing discards and reducing impact on the environment. The Federation and its constituent members realise the importance of being a sustainable industry and this document shows what the industry has done, is doing and pledges to do in the future.

Further information on can be found at www.sff.co.uk