A new regime of small fish in the Clyde.
The structure of white fish in the Clyde has changed from an even mix, with many large predator species to one dominated by whiting and other small fish. Although this has increased since 1980s, 90% are below minimum landing size and 72% of white fish are small whiting.
Towed fishing gears have altered the Clyde marine environment.
Nursery habitats are flattened and dug up by scallop dredgers in a matter of minutes! These fragile habitats can take hundreds of years to build. 80% of the Clyde’s biogenic reefs have disappeared in the last 100 years.
99% of the catch is shellfish.
The historic herring fishery produces a tiny 1.4% of the amount it boasted prior to 1980. Approximately 11,000 tonnes of bottom fish were landed in 1970 compared to the 100 tonnes today. Today, the only viable commercial fisheries are for prawns and scallops. 80% of discarded whiting on the west coast of Scotland comes from the prawn fishery
There’s potentially £10 million of additional economic value to be had.
A fishery recovery to 1982 levels holds a £10 million gross value addition to the recreational sea angling industry. But today ‘trophy’ sized fish are scarce. Anglers are lucky to catch a few mackerel or small whiting.
There’s been a 70% loss of jobs due to poor fish stocks in the Clyde.
Clyde commercial fishing employment has declined over 70% in the last 60 years.200 jobs in just 25 years have disappeared in the Recreational Sea Angling sector. No new fishing boats have been added to the Clyde fleet in over 20 years.
Very little area is currently protected from towed-fishing gears in the Clyde.
In other Northern European countries like Sweden and Norway, scallop dredging is not allowed in inshore areas. Wales also prohibits it within the majority of its 1 mile zone. No bottom trawling is allowed within four nautical miles in the Faroe Islands.