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Safety, Training and Catch Quality

Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association

The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association Limited (SPFA) has been promoting and protecting the interests of the Scottish pelagic fishing fleet for more than 75 years at national and international level.

The Scottish pelagic fleet remains at the forefront of European pelagic fishing and the primary activity of SPFA is maximising the fishing opportunities available to its 23 member vessels attached to three branches located at Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Shetland.

The sector’s main fisheries are North-East Atlantic mackerel and horse mackerel, Northern blue whiting and North Sea, West of Scotland and Atlanto-Scandian herring all prosecuted using the pelagic trawl fishing method.

SPFA takes its sustainability responsibilities seriously and is a member of the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group which has driven forward a number of sustainability and responsible fishing initiatives since it was established in 2007. These include MSC Certification of four fisheries; North Sea herring, Western mackerel, Atlanto Scandian herring, and West of Scotland herring.

Scottish pelagic fishermen are amongst the most heavily regulated in Europe, working under the full spectrum of controls which include quota allocations, designated landing ports, restrictive licensing, closed areas and satellite monitoring. The Association works closely with the Scottish and UK governments and the European Commission to represent members’ interests and ensure that they are able to participate equitably in international fisheries.

Through its connections with organisations such as the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), North East Fishermen’s Training Association (NEFTA), Shetland Fisheries Training Association (SFTA) and Seafood Scotland the Association ensures there remains strong emphasis on safety at sea, fishermen’s training and catch quality.

The Pelagic Regional Advisory Committee was formed in 2005 to give advice on the management of pelagic fisheries to the European Commission and the SPFA holds a seat on its executive committee.