The Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust (SIFT) is calling on the Scottish Government to use the recently released report on the state of the Clyde as an important ‘start point’ for a process of recovery and the creation of a sustainable economic future for communities up and down the coast.
The charity is designing a model sustainable fishery on the Firth of Clyde. This will be in the form of a large reserve which bans trawlers and scallop dredgers but would still allow traditional creel fishing and line fishing. SIFT believes such a move will help the Government to achieve its twin aims for the Clyde as a test area for sustainable fishing and demonstrate leadership in terms of ecosystem restoration.
Robert Younger, Chairman of SIFT, said: “We agree there is a very good chance of recovery for the Clyde using local restoration measures and believe this is vital as the ecosystem is extremely degraded. The once great white fish, herring and recreational fisheries are now closed or a minute fraction of their former state.
“Recent changes to legislation have had a profound effect on the fishery, in particular the decision to allow trawling within three nautical miles of the coast. The Scottish Government should re-establish the successful coastal reserve areas that were abolished in the late 20th century in order to enable the recovery of the Clyde. These will stop prawn trawlers and scallop dredgers from harming fish nurseries on the sea bed and catching larger fish as by catch.”
Scotland’s inshore waters are important to sea anglers but over-fishing and the use of destructive fishing gears have seriously damaged the inshore ecosystem to the point that coastal communities no longer enjoy a mixed and vibrant economy.
SIFT promotes fisheries policies which conserve and restore the diversity of the marine ecosystem. The charity aims to assist the return of a more lucrative, sustainable and mixed economy featuring revived fin-fisheries, recreational sea angling, traditional shell fish creeling and scallop diving as well as leisure activities which rely on a healthy sea such as wildlife tourism.