NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Plenty fish in sea, new fish industry group says

Cod in a fishing boat
Image caption The new pressure group says cod stocks are healthy

A group of Scottish fishermen have joined a pressure group to convince people that North Sea fish stocks are healthy.

The Real Fish Fight said boats have reported large catches of cod.

Peterhead skipper Peter Bruce said conservationists wanted to turn the North Sea into an aquarium.

WWF Scotland said it was possible the big catches were the result of boats passing over large groups of spawning cod.

Mr Bruce said there was scaremongering over fish stocks.

He recently hauled his largest ever catch of cod - 30 tonnes in a single net.

The fisherman said: "There is some of the green lobby that is actually trying to finish the fishing industry.

"They are wanting the North Sea left as an aquarium and we just can't have that."

He added: "We would like the scientists to come out with us and see what we are seeing on the grounds."

WWF Scotland said at this time of year cod were grouping in large numbers to spawn.

A spokeswoman said it could be that the large catch was made in one of these areas and that this could not be read as a sign that numbers of the fish had recovered.

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