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Commercial Fishing


Candidates for PM urged to help fisheries sector thrive. Fishing industry leaders today called for greater government action to allow the sector to thrive, not just survive, amid a growing range of challenges.

In an open letter to the two candidates for Prime Minister, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, prior to their visit to Scotland tomorrow, Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said that with the right support, fishing would play a key role in the transition to net zero, economic growth, sustainable use of our seas and national food security.

Ms Macdonald said that while the industry recognised the need for expansion of offshore renewables, a much more balanced and equitable dialogue was required, along with fairer decision making about marine spatial planning, to ensure low carbon food production did not pay the price for this.

“Both the UK and Scottish Governments have ambitious plans for expanding and accelerating electricity generation from offshore wind farms. We understand that the UK must transition away from fossil fuels to other forms of energy, but there are real risks that fishing becomes collateral damage as our vessels are squeezed out of key fishing grounds.

“Wild-capture fisheries are intrinsically a climate-smart foodstuff and are a key part of the UK’s journey to net zero. But to be part of the net-zero future fishing needs space at sea to continue operating efficiently and sustainably. We produce food with a lower carbon footprint than all other forms of animal protein, indeed some Scottish fisheries have carbon emissions lower than plant-based protein sources.”

Ms Macdonald also called for significant improvements to the Brexit deal, which fell far short of fishermen’s expectations, when it comes up for renewal in 2026, and for action on labour shortages and fuel costs.