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Sunday 29 January 2012. Herald Scotland.

By Rob Edwards Environment Editor

Scottish fishing boats are under fire for trawling seas far from home for catches of tuna, shark, swordfish, mackerel and sardines.

The Sunday Herald can reveal that at least five vessels registered in Scotland have been licensed to fish in the Indian Ocean and off the northwest African coast.

Along with boats from elsewhere in Europe, they are facing criticisms that they are plundering foreign seas, damaging local fishing industries and threatening fish stocks.

As fish stocks in European waters have declined, big fishing businesses have increasingly searched further afield for more lucrative and less depleted waters. Scottish fishermen, already in straitened circumstances, are also keen to exploit foreign waters to keep operating.

According to a study for conservation group WWF, one-third of the world’s oceans are heavily fished, 10 times more than in the 1950s.

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