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Mike Park, Chief Executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association (SWFPA) has been awarded the prestigious WWF conservation merit prize for his leadership and efforts in improving conservation measures in the Scottish white fish fisheries and his work in encouraging sustainable fishing practices in Scotland and beyond. [2]

Mike also played a significant role in the setting up of the Scottish Conservation Credit Scheme Steering Group. This innovative group brings together representatives of the Scottish Government, fishing industry, scientists and NGOs to seek the best adapted solutions to help rebuild cod and other associated fish stocks.

The WWF Award for Conservation Merit is given in recognition of demonstrated commitment to local, grass-roots conservation.

Commenting on this award, WWF Scotland Director, Dr Richard Dixon, said:

We're delighted that Mike Park has been selected to receive this conservation merit award for his vision and understanding of the inextricable link between healthy marine ecosystems and stable fish stocks and for acting on this vision in Scotland and beyond. 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. We look forward to working with Mike, and other like-minded partners, in the forthcoming reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, pressing for local management as a way of delivering sustainable fisheries and sustainable fishing communities."

Mike Park, Chief Executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association (SWFPA) said:

"It is a very special honour and privilege to receive an award that gives so much recognition to the very special work and change taking place in Scottish fisheries. It is significant that my members now recognise that the health of the stocks is the real barometer of a fisher's wealth. I very much hope that the Common Fisheries Policy reform, and the onset of regional management and decentralisation, provides the necessary platform to expand our work further. It is my extreme pleasure to accept this award on behalf of an industry that is contributing so much to the changing face of Europe's fisheries."

Yolanda Kakbadse, WWF International President said:

"The world's fisheries will be saved when fishers, fishing communities and businesses and environmentalists realise sustainable fisheries serve all our interests.

"It is my great pleasure to recognise Mike Park, a leading Scottish fisheries industry figure, with The WWF Award for Conservation Merit for his recognition and constant promotion of the truth that we are all in the same boat on fisheries."

Ends

Notes to Editors

[1] The WWF Award for Conservation Merit is given in recognition of demonstrated commitment to local, grass-roots conservation.

[2] Biography and photograph of Mike Park:

Mike Park is a former fisherman and skipper who, in addition to his leading role in the SWFPA, is very active on a number of bodies and foundations including:

Chairman of the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group Ltd (SFSAG). SWFPA has been instrumental in delivering MSC certification for major North Sea stocks such as haddock.

Vice chairman and Director of the North Sea Regional Advisory Council (NSRAC). Regional Advisory Councils were set up in the wake of the 2002 CFP reform in a bid to provide structures to improve fisheries governance through greater stakeholder participation.

Board Member of Seafish Industry Authority (Ministerial Appointment) Seafish is the UK authority that supports the seafood industry for a sustainable, profitable future.

Chair of Committee on Policy at the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF):
In his various roles, he has been advocating the decentralisation of fisheries management in order to involve industry players who hold so much expertise and who are key to the success of fisheries measures. Mike is also very effective at building alliances with all those seeking to further the cause of sustainable fisheries. This has particularly been the case in the current process to reform the EU Common Fisheries Policy. Indeed, the SWFPA recently declared its support for the WWF/Industry Alliance for CFP reform which brings together WWF and European processing, trade and retail associations as well as the pan-European association of Chefs (Euro Toques) on a common platform advocating the setting up of long-term management plans on the basis of fisheries, bringing fisheries management closer to stakeholders, making the most of fish landings and ensuring that conservation measures are equally applied by all EU vessels wherever they fish.

Mike came second last year in the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum /Scotsman Green list.

SWFPA: http://www.sff.co.uk/swfpa.php

Photo of Mike Park available here:http://www.divshare.com/download/14725921-f36

[3] WWF Industry Alliance for the CFP: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/how_we_work/policy/wwf_europe_environment/initiatives/fisheries/fisheries_policy/wwf_industry_alliance_cfp/

Seafish: http://www.seafish.org/
SFF: http://www.sff.co.uk/
NSRAC:http://www.nsrac.org/
SFSAG:http://scottishfsag.org/
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