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Enforcers with eye on catch.

THE waters off Scotland's coastline are policed on land, sea and from the sky by Marine Scotland.

And enforcement is now so tight that there is barely any scope for skippers tempted to flout European Union fishing regulations.

Set up nearly three years ago by the Scottish Government, they brought together the functions of the Fisheries Research Services, the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency and the Marine Directorate.

They have responsibility for marine science, planning, policy, management and, crucially, for compliance - making sure that skippers operate within the law.

With a budget of pounds 79million, Marine Scotland employ around 700 staff in offices and on vessels around Scotland.

In Peterhead, Europe's busiest fishing port, a shift rota ensures enforcement staff work round-theclock seven days a week.

Since 2010, fishing vessels over 24m have had to record and report their catch details electronically. It means compliance officers know exactly how much fish is being caught before the boats even bring their hauls to market.

And from January this year, the scrutiny was extended to cover all fishing boats longer than 12m.

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WATCHDOG J Marine Scotland's MV Minna
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 20, 2012
Words:187
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