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St Andrews experts join fishing inquiry

Two University of St Andrews scientists have joined an independent inquiry launched today (Tuesday 27th May, 2003) into the crisis in the Scottish fishing industry.

Professors Ian Boyd and Steve Buckland have joined fellow experts in marine biology, fish stocks, environmental issues, statistical modelling, social science, business and economics to form an independent committee set up by The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

The principal objective of the inquiry will be to make an assessment of the extent to which controls imposed on the Scottish fishing industry are scientifically robust.

Professor Boyd is Director of the University’s Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), while Professor Buckland is Director of the University’s Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM).

Professor Boyd said: “This enquiry represents an important opportunity to look at the future shape of fisheries in Scotland.”

Scotland has the largest part of the United Kingdom’s sea fishing industry and many of Scotland’s more remote communities, especially around the North East coast and in Shetland, are heavily dependent on it for their livelihood. Concerns over declining fish stocks, especially of cod have led to severe restrictions being imposed under the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and concerns exist over the long term viability of the Scottish fishing industry.

Instigated by the Council of The Royal Society of Edinburgh and Chaired by the distinguished Biologist, Sir David Smith, The RSE’s independent inquiry will seek to identify what steps might be taken to secure the future of the fishing industry in Scotland. The expert Committee is expected to reach its conclusions by Christmas 2003, and its findings and recommendations will be made widely available.

RSE President, Lord Sutherland of Houndwood said:

“The Fishing Industry is at the heart of many of Scotland’s communities: a way of life and central to livelihoods and local economies. The crisis facing the industry today has prompted the Council of The Royal Society of Edinburgh to mount a broadly- based, independent inquiry which will seek to identify what measures might be taken to secure the industry for future generations in Scotland.

“Under Sir David Smith’s Chairmanship, the independent, expert committee will consult widely and examine the science underlying the controls imposed upon the Scottish Fishing Industry. It is my hope that our recommendations will help to develop sound strategies for the future.”

The remit of the inquiry will include a comparison with other fishing nations; the impact of improvements in catching technology; the effects of practices such as industrial fishing; a consideration of role of aquaculture in the industry, especially in terms of its potential for replacing some of the reduction in the catch of fish such as cod; and a critical examination of the socio-economic impact of the declining fish catches.

The Committee met for the first time today at the Royal Society in Edinburgh. The membership of the Committee includes:

· Sir David Smith FRS FRSE, (Chairman) former Principal and Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh University and President of Wolfson College, Oxford

· Professor Ian Boyd FRSE, Director of the NERC Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St. Andrews

· Professor Steven Buckland, Professor of Statistics and Director of the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling, University of St. Andrews

· Mr Ed Cunningham CBE FRSE, Chairman, Business Options Ltd

· Professor Gavin McCrone CB FRSE, Professor in Business Studies, University of Edinburgh

· Dr Malcolm MacGarvin Environmental Consultant & Company Director

· Professor Alasdair McIntyre CBE FRSE, Former Chief Scientific Officer, DAFS Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen

· Professor Monty Priede FRSE, Professor of Zoology, University of Aberdeen · Professor Randolph Richards, Director of the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling

· Dr David Symes, formerly Fisheries Management & European Policy, University of Hull

Note to editors:

FOR FUTHER INFORMATION ON THE INQUIRY, PLEASE CONTACT:

Stuart Brown, Public Relations Officer, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Tel: 0131 240 5000; mob. 077 11 710 249; e-mail: sbrown@royalsoced.org.uk

ENDS

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: fishing inquiry committee pr 270503 View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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