Fisheries leader honoured for conservation
May 04 2011 Fish2Fork
A leading figure in Scotland’s fishing industry has won an international award from the World Wildlife Fund for promoting sustainable fishing.
Mike Park is the chief executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association (SWFPA) and has been awarded the WWF’s conservation merit prize.
He won it for his efforts to make the fishing industry and beyond improve its record on conservation and to introduce more sustainable fishing practices.
Mr Park plays a significant role in the Scottish Conservation Credit Scheme as chairman of the Steering Group which brings together representatives of the industry, government, scientists and other organisations. The scheme was the first of its kind in the European Union and it is designed to identify techniques to rebuild fish stocks and reward fishermen for adopting them.
At a ceremony in Switzerland the WWF International President Yolanda Kakbadse hailed Mr Park’s contribution to conservation and said: "The world's fisheries will be saved when fishers, fishing communities and businesses and environmentalists realise sustainable fisheries serve all our interests."
Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, also paid tribute to Mr Park’s "vision and understanding of the inextricable link between healthy marine ecosystems and stable fish stocks".
He added: "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."
Mr Park said it was a "special honour and privilege" to be given the award, and said: "It is significant that my members now recognise that the health of the stocks is the real barometer of a fisher's wealth."
Among the issues that has won him the admiration of the WWF is his stance on the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy which he believes needs reform to decentralise fisheries management, which he expects would bring about more opportunities to ensure the industry behaves sustainably.
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