Pictured here tucked up on the outer wall at Macduff, next to the Prosperity UL 250, the Greenpeace vessel Sea Beaver appears to be taking a break from ‘surveys’ that have included filming scallopers working off the North East coast, and footage passed to the BBC and other media outlets as evidence of discarding by fishing vessels.

Greenpeace itself, and its partner in the operation, Scottish charity Open Seas, say that the main purpose of the extended summer trip of the vessel is to document and record the seabed across Scottish waters, with the aim of deploying subsea cameras and recording the flora and fauna across a variety of inshore habitats, and the impact that fishing activity is having on them.

Given the coverage sent to media outlets, including footage of scallopers, and the NGO’s recent comments on estimates of discards, many skippers seeing the vessel on its passage from the Scottish border up to Macduff over the last few weeks have a slightly different take on proceedings: “Funny how after saying there were no fish left inshore, you are now claiming we are discarding thousands of tonnes.”

“So-called discarding of skate, which we return to the sea alive, as quickly as possible, is now something we are criticised for, even though we are obliged to do so.”

Those were two of the comments sent to Fishing News over the last week. If you encounter the Sea Beaver during its survey trips, FN would love to hear from you.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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