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Fisherman Debunks Fishy Fish Scare

Arnold Locker, The Times

Contrary to the claims of a recent Nature Climate Change study, there has never been such an abundance of fish in the North Sea, this veteran fisherman claims

Sir, The Nature Climate Change study has completely misread the habitat of the northern North Sea (report, Apr 14). North Sea haddock has been managed for years by a long-term management plan approved by the Marine Stewardship Council, and has resulted in a sustainable stock which is increasing in mass. The Irish and Celtic seas have also seen a haddock biomass increase to the largest level ever recorded.

It is similar story with North Sea plaice, which continue to increase year on year, due to the long-term management plan. If fishermen began to concentrate on catching small fish such as anchovies and gurnard this would drastically increase wasteful discards of larger edible fish as it would mean we would have to reduce mesh sizes to catch the smaller fish.

I have been fishing in the North Sea for more than 40 years, and have never experienced such vast fishing opportunities as are available now. There is an abundance of species such as haddock, cod, plaice and saithe, and our gear is highly selective when catching them.

Arnold Locker

Former chairman, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations

The Times, 15 April 2015