Shetland Trawlers Monkfish fight back

THE Shetland Fishermen’s Association has today written to Asda to challenge their decision to stop stocking UK sourced monkfish and have invited them up to Shetland to meet some of the fishermen who catch the fish and one of the foremost scientific experts on monkfish who works at the North Atlantic Fisheries College in Shetland.

Shetland vessels currently catch almost 20% of the UK’s North Sea monkfish allocation, all of which is caught by individual small businesses fishing around their home islands and landing the fish into Shetland’s two fishmarkets.

The Shetland Fishermen’s Association says it believes that Asda have, in a press release, seriously misrepresented the situation regarding the stocks of monkfish in the waters around the UK which are in fact currently in good condition and improving. As a result of this improvement in the monkfish stocks, which has been analysed within an industry/science partnership, the quota for North Sea monkfish has increased by 57% over the past three years which would not have happened if the stocks were in danger and declining.

Chairman of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association Leslie Tait said: “The Shetland whitefish sector is very much dependant on catching monkfish and Asda’s decision to stop stocking this stock is, we feel, based on flawed information. We are therefore inviting their fish buying team to visit Shetland to meet for themselves the fishermen involved in this fishery as well as one of the foremost scientists involved in the analysis of monkfish to find out first hand the real state of the monkfish stock. If they take up our offer I am sure that they will reconsider their decision.”

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