Trawlermen may soon be able to land the edible fish Spurdog which they are currently forced to discard back into the sea, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP has learned.
Responding to questions from Mr MacNeil on the issue of Spurdog by-catch which is a matter of concern for West Coast Fishermen, Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead MSP has advised that the EC will now be asked to consider allowing a genuine by-catch to be landed without allowing a targeted fisheries to develop.
A proposal to argue for a small quota is being prepared for December to support a by-catch pilot programme. This will be informed by the results of recent and ongoing research such as the FISA project based in the Minches spearheaded by Islander Shellfish, Stornoway and Barratlantic Ltd.
Mr MacNeil commented:
“I’m delighted there is at last an emerging possibility of a genuine by-catch being considered. Credit for this progress must in large part go to Islander Shellfish and Barratlantic for initiating and running the Spurdog project used to inform these proposals.
Cllr Donald Manford who helped coordinate the project commented:
“While it pleasing to see our project contributed to information on Spurdog stock levels, a larger more comprehensive project would be able to further strengthen the case for a by-catch TAC.”