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Festival of Politics 2022
11 to 13 August
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Friday, October 22, 2021

Should we stop eating fish?

Time: 7pm to 8pm

How accurate are the claims of the controversial Netflix documentary Seaspiracy when it comes to Scotland’s seas and fishing industry?


Event information

The controversial Netflix documentary Seaspiracy caused uproar in the fishing industry with its claims of overfishing, pollution and damage to oceans. How accurate are these claims when it comes to Scotland’s seas and fishing industry? Who is in charge of maintaining our healthy seabed and thriving ecosystem? How is Scotland’s fishing community faring in post-Brexit seas? And what role do Marine Protected Areas offer for well-managed Scottish seas?

This event is brought to you in partnership with the University of Aberdeen. It is chaired by Finlay Carson MSP, Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee.


Elspeth McDonald

Before joining the Scottish Fishermen's Federation in August 2019, Elspeth was deputy CEO at Food Standards Scotland (FSS), which took over the responsibilities previously carried out in Scotland by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). As part of FSS’s senior management team, Elspeth had lead responsibility for its work on strategy and policy. Before that, she spent 14 years with FSA in a range of roles in Scotland and in London. Elspeth is a science graduate of Stirling and Aberdeen universities, and started her working life at what is now the Marine Scotland Science laboratory in Aberdeen.

Tara Marshall

I completed my PhD on the population dynamics of Scotian Shelf haddock at Dalhousie University in 1995. I then worked as a Research Scientist at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway from 1995-2003. Since 2003 I have been at University of Aberdeen where I teach in the marine biology programme and undertake research into sustainable management of commercial fish stocks in the North Atlantic, North Sea, Barents Sea and Southern Ocean. I investigate climate change impacts on productivity of fish stocks and appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies and co-chair an international working group investigating climate change impacts on growth rates and fisheries yields. My current climate-related research also includes quantifying greenhouse gas emissions of the Scottish fishing fleet. My applied research has included the co-design and development of a bycatch avoidance mapping tool BATmap (working with Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation), design of a self-sampling programme currently used by Scottish pelagic fishing vessels (with the Scottish Pelagic Fisheries Association) and a vulnerability assessment of wrasse populations to inform fisheries management (with Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation and Marine Scotland).

Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor is co-founder and Head of Policy for Open Seas, a marine campaigns charity working to improve the health of our seas and the sustainability of our seafood. Phil is a geographer by training and has been working in conservation roles since his teens - from building bird hides to lobbying at the CBD conference, from setting up rat eradications on remote seabird islands to designing databases. He has worked on a range of fisheries issues, including tuna in the southern oceans, fisheries around the EU and now works on issues here in Scotland

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