James Marsden, who is director marine for Natural England, claimed fishermen were either not communicating about conservation or even ‘withholding information’.

Mr Marsden was speaking at the Coastal Futures 2010, Review and Future Trends, organised by Communications and Management for Sustainability.

He said: “Some fishermen have boycotted meetings or are withholding information.

“Communication is key … and uncertainty is inevitable.”

Eminent scientists also announced last week that 12 fish stocks, including North Sea cod, plaice and halibut, is so bad they will not recover enough to be sustainable by 2015.

This was the aim of European countries at the Development Summit held in Johannesburg back in 2002.

The findings were announced by Dr Rainer Froese, Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences and Dr Alexander Proelß, Walter-Schücking-Institute of International Law of the University of Kiel, in the journal, Fish and Fisheries.

The German scientists both point out the continuous overfishing of European stocks constitutes a breach of the precautionary principle, which is a binding principle of community law.

Our analysis suggests that landings could be 79% higher if stocks had been managed according to the international agreements,” says Mr Froese.

“However, in European waters stocks are intentionally managed such that they stay close to the brink of collapse, this policy makes no sense from an ecological or economic point of view.”

Luke Walsh

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