SIFT welcomes research linking diversity with jobs

Date: 21/05/2013

SIFT has welcomed the publication of a study carried out by leading fisheries scientists from the University of York looking into the implications of reduced numbers of predatory fish species at the top of the food chain. The research further supports SIFT's concerns over the Firth of Clyde's coastal fisheries as well as underlining the importance of recovery of mixed fisheries to boost employment within the inshore fisheries sector. SIFT’s Director, Charles Millar, said: “The study has particular relevance for the Clyde. It notes that prawns now dominate the Firth of Clyde fishery. In 1985, finfish such as cod made up more than 60 % of the landings by weight and 37 % by value. However by 2008, this had fallen to just 2 % by weight and 0.5 % by value. Now prawns alone make up 84 % of landings by weight and 87 % by value.” Mr Millar added: “The Clyde prawn fishery really is in the last-chance saloon. Although it provides lucrative rewards in the short-term, if stocks were to collapse, and there are international precedents, then the Clyde would be devoid of a material commercial fishery. This would have dire social consequences for fishing communities. As a matter of high priority we need to nurture a recovery of the mixed fishery - from the larger predatory fish downwards – through lower fishing intensity and restrictions on the destructive and unselective fishing practices which limit the sea’s ability to recover its natural diversity.”

The paper “The unintended consequences of simplifying the sea: making the case for complexity” has been published in the respected journal Fish and Fisheries and can be found at


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Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust is a Registered Scottish Charity Number SC042334