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Commercial Fishing



SFF raises concerns over Firth of Clyde restrictions. The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has raised its concerns about seasonal restrictions imposed on fishing grounds in the Firth of Clyde with a parliamentary committee.

In a submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee, the SFF said Marine Scotland’s decision to withdraw exemptions for nephrops trawlers, scallopers and creelers in an area closed to cod fishing was “an extremely poor example of decision making and stakeholder engagement”.

SFF chief executive Elspeth Macdonald said:

“With virtually no notice, industry was advised that what amounted to a complete U-turn had been made on the provision of exemptions. Fishermen were getting less than a day’s notice that in a month’s time, they would not be able to fish grounds that they have fished for many years, without any empirical evidence to support this decision.”

While a subsequent meeting had been held to discuss mitigation, the decision and the way it was handed had severely dented industry’s trust in the Scottish Government.

Ms Macdonald also criticised the lack of science behind the decision to remove the exemptions.

“We do not believe … that there is any evidence that providing the exemptions is the reason for the lack of recovery [in the cod stock], or that removing the exemptions will lead to recovery.

“Furthermore, the way this situation was handled by the Scottish Government sets a worrying precedent, and undermines years of cooperation, engagement, constructive dialogue and an evidence-based approach between the government and industry.”