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A battle built on bullshit - Grein í Fishing News

Influential Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson has built himself a strong reputation for taking up arms on behalf of the fishing industry and British fishermen. As part of his support for British fishermen, he has fought a tough battle against allowing Iceland and our neighbours in the Faroe Islands to exploit stocks of mackerel that are present in our waters in huge amounts.

Struan Stevenson bases his arguments entirely on ICES advice. British fishermen should know better than anyone else that ICES advice isn’t worth much, especially as it breaks all the rules of accepted ecological principles.

It is entirely ridiculous that ICES should treat each species as a separate entity, as if each species lives a life separate that fits comfortably onto an Excel spreadsheet, without taking into consideration that each species competes with others either for fed or as feed for other species.

ICES advice is based on the dogma that we should catch less so as to be able to catch more later. The problem is ‘later’ never comes and the overfishing myth becomes more pressing as the fishing fleet becomes smaller.

It should be obvious to any thinking fisherman that ICES advice on the exploitation of pelagic species in the North Atlantic is entirely wrong.

In recent years, ICES advice on fishing for capelin, blue whiting and Atlanto-Scandian herring have been followed. All
of these stocks that have been fished according to the advice are now at a low point
On the other hand, mackerel is showing a vigorous growth, in spite of having been fished significantly beyond ICES
recommendations. This tells us everything we need to know about the reliability of the methodology used by ICES.
The stock assessment methods used by fisheries directorates are generally subject to considerable margins of error,
such as the difficulties of establishing a true rate of natural mortality. This means that there should be significant doubts about the validity of stock assessment results.
In fact, assessment of mackerel is even less reliable than other species as it has no swim bladder and therefore is
extremely difficult to locate using acoustic methods.
Stock assessment of mackerel is based largely on doubtful surveys of the mackerel spawning stock, made on the basis of
a survey every three years to examine the amount of drifting mackerel eggs.
If Struan Stevenson wants to see some real progress on behalf of Scottish fishermen, then he might be better off
demanding a thorough audit of ICES recommendations – and put aside, at least for the moment, the dispute that is based on complete bullshit from ICES.

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