Recognition we are all in the same boat on sustainable fisheries nets conservation award for Scottish industry leader

May 3, 2011 09:54

Leading Scottish fisheries industry figure Mike Park will tonight be honoured for his leadership and efforts in improving conservation measures in the Scottish white fish fisheries and his work in encouraging sustainable fishing practices in Scotland and beyond, reports with reference to WWF.

"The world's fisheries will be saved when fishers, fishing communities and businesses and environmentalists realise sustainable fisheries serve all our interests," said Ms Yolanda Kakabadse, International President of WWF International.

"It is my great pleasure to recognise Mike Park, a leading Scottish fisheries industry figure, with The WWF Award for Conservation Merit for his recognition and constant promotion of the truth that we are all in the same boat on fisheries."

Park, Chief Executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association (SWFPA), received the award at a special ceremony at the global environment organisation's Annual Conference, now being held in St Gallen, Switzerland. The award was established 30 years ago for demonstrated commitment to local, grass-roots conservation and can be awarded to individuals or institutions.

Among Mike Park's achievements is the setting up of the Scottish Conservation Credit Scheme Steering Group, an innovative group brings together representatives of the Scottish Government, fishing industry, scientists and NGOs to seek the best adapted solutions to help rebuild cod and other fish stocks.

"We're delighted that Mike Park has been selected to receive this conservation merit award for his vision and understanding of the inextricable link between healthy marine ecosystems and stable fish stocks and for acting on this vision in Scotland and beyond," said WWF Scotland Director, Dr Richard Dixon.

"Much progress has been achieved in improving the management of cod fisheries here in recent years and Mike and his association have played a significant role in helping achieve this. We look forward to working with Mike, and other like-minded partners, in the forthcoming reform of the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy, pressing for local management as a way of delivering sustainable fisheries and sustainable fishing communities."

Past recipients of the award include scientists, community and business leaders, and conservation campaigners from the Himalayas to the marine depths and institutions from the European Environment Agency to the Campfire Association of Zimbabwe.

"It is a very special honour and privilege to receive an award that gives so much recognition to the very special work and change taking place in Scottish fisheries," said Mike Park.

"It is significant that my members now recognise that the health of the stocks is the real barometer of a fisher's wealth. I very much hope that the Common Fisheries Policy reform, and the onset of regional management and decentralisation, provides the necessary platform to expand our work further.

"It is my extreme pleasure to accept this award on behalf of an industry that is contributing so much to the changing face of Europe's fisheries."

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