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Friday, 13 June 2014

Martin Pastors leaves the GAP2 project - for all the right reasons it seems!

A PROMINENT fisheries scientist, Martin Pastoors, is leaving his role in the GAP2 project to join the fishing industry, as he feels this is more effective way of ensuring fish conservation.

Having worked with GAP2 – a project that aims to demonstrate the role and value of stakeholder driven science within the context of fisheries' governance – for the past three years, Pastoors has resigned as leader of Work Package 3 and is taking up a new role as the first Chief Science Officer at the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA).

One of the main reasons for leaving GAP2, he explains, is the problems that are likely to be caused by the implementation of the EU's discard ban. "The main challenge that I see at the moment is to keep the fishing industry onboard when the policy is looking for drastic changes but without very good explanations or means. I am really concerned that the new discard ban could do a lot of harm to the positive developments that we have seen over the last decade with the decline in fishing mortality, with the RACs as platforms of collaboration and with initiatives like the Scottish conservation credit scheme. The discard ban is a very complex piece of legislation that is very very difficult to explain. There have been many meetings already trying to figure out what the different elements mean. Taking the discard ban as a learning process, then it could develop in something positive. But if it would be rolled out as a control and enforcement approach, I am really concerned that it will do much more harm than good.

"Overall the challenge that I see is to go from a very hierarchical top-down micromanagement style of fisheries management to a management style that is more comparable to other industries: where society gives out a license to produce but the industry needs to demonstrate that it complies with the license. Making the industry responsible to society instead of society telling the industry what to do. That is also why I have taken the strategic decision to be part of the industry and trying to work in that direction."