Tag Archives: Scottish Fishermen’s Federation

Jimmy Buchan: energy costs will drive fish processors out of business

Mr Buchan has sent a letter to the two candidates vying to become Prime Minister, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, ahead of their campaigning visits to Scotland tomorrow. In the letter Mr Buchan, the chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association, warned that on top of Brexit and Covid, escalating fuel costs were having a “devastating impact on our ability to remain viable”. Meanwhile, the body representing the fishing industry has also issued an open letter to the prospective PMs. Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, highlighted the need for “fairer decision making” over use of the seas in order to prevent fishing becoming “collateral damage” ahead of the spansion of wind farms. >click to read< 15:21

Training for new recruits needs to be extended says Seafish.

Simon Potten, Head of Safety and Training, discusses how local engagement and more training could be the key to making the fishing industry safer. During Maritime Safety Week (4-8 July) which was a great platform for raising national awareness of safety in the commercial fishing industry. We have been supporting Maritime Safety Week since it was started by the Department for Transport in 2018. In those five years there have been 23 deaths on commercial fishing vessels in the UK. Unfortunately, most of them came in 2021 when we tragically lost 10 fishermen. The worst year in over a decade for lives lost. Which is why I think Maritime Safety Week is more important this year than ever before. So, what can we do to make the fishing industry safer? >click to continue< 12:13

Your favourite takeaway could set you back following green-energy expansion

Fish and chip fans fear the future of their favourite takeaway, as widening offshore wind farms will soon be constructed in precious fishing territory. Fishermen across the country have criticised the Prime Minister’s plans to increase the number of wind turbines in the sea, meaning over half of their legal fishing territory could be lost by 2050. A damning report outlined in the Spatial Squeeze in Fisheries report indicated how 56 percent of Scottish waters could become prohibited for fishing boats. The Prime Minister’s plans would see fish go uncaught, leaving restaurants no choice but to rely on importing. One chip shop in Kent recently shut down as its owner refused to charge £14 per person for a portion of Britain’s most famous dish. >click to read< 15:27

Fishing industry at risk of being ‘put to the sword’ by offshore renewables and MPA’s

The fishing fleet is facing a “truly frightening” future with the prospect of more than half of Scottish waters being off-limits by 2050, a new study has warned. The industry is at risk of being “put to the sword” because of offshore renewable energy developments and the expansion of enhanced marine protected areas, according to the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) and National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO). Their report, Spatial Squeeze in Fisheries, produced by the ABPmer consultancy, is described as the first attempt to assess the cumulative impact on commercial fishing of “hugely increased competition for space in the marine environment”. >click to read< 07:55

A trilateral agreement: More haddock can be caught after fishing deal with EU and Norway

The UK has made a deal with Norway and the European Union on how to divide up fish stocks in the North Sea next year. While fishing groups have welcomed the agreement, catch-sector bosses say it does nothing to resolve issues around access to cod in Norwegian waters after talks in the spring between London and Oslo collapsed. Ministers say they “remain optimistic” a deal with Norway and the Faroe Islands for 2022 can be struck before the end of the year. >click to read< 08:39

Fishing chief says wind projects bring ‘new challenges’ for Scottish fleet

The fishing industry has a key role to play in the energy transition amid a “spatial squeeze” in Scottish waters. That was the message from Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation,,, Ms Macdonald said fishers faced competition for territory from a range of other sectors, including aquaculture, oil and gas, and marine renewables. Marine protected areas are also a limiting factor on fishing opportunities, she added. And sea space is about to be “squeezed” even more by a raft of offshore wind energy developments as Scotland pursues its net-zero carbon emissions targets,,, >click to read< 11:36

Scottish fish stocks not at peril from bigger catches

Fishers claim bigger, not smaller catches can boost key North Sea stocks and help the Scottish fleet avoid a potentially “devastating” blow from further quota cuts. The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, wants to slash the total allowable catch for North Sea cod by 10.3% next year. Ices’ recommendation for west coast saithe, also known as coley, is for an even deeper cut, of 24%. At the same time, the organisation is advocating increases of 154% for North Sea and west coast haddock, as well as a 236% jump in the TAC for North Sea whiting. Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Elspeth Macdonald has previously described the overall advice package as “desperate news” , >click to read< 10:38

Scotland: Deep concern over failure to use PFD’s after fishing industry deaths

A safety warning has been issued to the fishing industry about the mandatory wearing of lifejackets (PFD’s) as concerns grow about deaths caused by not wearing them, despite moves to supply them free to Scottish boats. New figures show that six of the 12 fishermen who have died at sea in 2018 and 2019 were not wearing lifejackets,,  The MAIB has said deaths in the water from those not wearing PFD was of “great concern” and said that “embedding behavioural change” could half the fatality rate in the fishing industry. It comes a year after the end of a scheme to supply PFDs to fishermen on Scottish-registered boats, with the intention of increasing the usage of a flotation garment while working on the open deck. Some 3,500 personal flotation devices (PFDs) were supplied,,, >click to read< 08:55

British fishermen should be able to double their catch in UK waters under new deal with EU

The intervention has come as fishing rights look set to dominate the fourth round of talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. The country’s fishermen’s federations said they backed the UK Government’s uncompromising stance in ruling out any extension to the transition period, which ends in December, saying any further delay to leaving the hated Common Fisheries Policy[CFP] would only prolong the uncertainty that the sector had suffered since the 2016 EU referendum.  >click to read< 12:48

 Boris fires back at EU’s ‘wishful thinking’ amid fears UK ready to surrender on fishing – Boris Johnson’s official spokesman stepped in amid reports of a potential compromise agreement over future access to the UK’s territorial waters. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has signalled he is ready to give ground on his “maximalist” position that calls for the same level of access to UK waters as in the Common Fisheries Policy. The Frenchman could agree to a Norway-style fisheries treaty, with annual negotiations on quota shares and access,,, >click to read<

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong to stand down

The leader of one of Scotland’s biggest fishing industry organisations has announced he is to step down after 14 years in the job. Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), will hand over to his successor in August. He will be replaced by Elspeth Macdonald, the deputy chief executive of Food Standards Scotland. Mr Armstrong said had had “lived and breathed” the industry. >link<12:32

Brexit: A ‘sea of opportunity’ for Scotland’s fishing fleet, claims industry leader

Brexit offers a “sea of opportunity” which gives Scotland and the wider UK a chance to become world leaders in the harvesting of sustainable seafood, the head of Scotland’s fishing industry has claimed. However, as Brexit negotiations continue at the highest level of both the British and Scottish governments, Bertie Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, has warned that the possibility of remaining in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, or even granting similar access to European trawlers, would be a complete betrayal of Scotland’s seaside communities. He has also fired a warning shot across the bows of the EU by stating that any actions that prevent Scottish sea food from reaching European markets on time after Brexit will simply result in the Scottish seafood industry finding new markets elsewhere. >click to read<12:54

Offshore wind farm could make vital Fife fishing ground a no-go zone

Eight turbines up to 800ft high may be built off the coast of Methil, in an area of rich pickings for fishermen from both sides of the Firth of Forth. Although the Forthwind developers insist fishing could continue around some of the massive structures those in the industry say it would become a no-go zone. Tom Mackenzie, manager of the Fishermen’s Mutual Association (Pittenweem), said: “It would be too dangerous to fish there. click here to read the story 07:49

Pro-Brexit Scots fishermen fear Westminster ‘power grab’

The pro-Brexit Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has warned the UK Government’s legislation to leave the EU must be amended if Holyrood’s powers are to be respected. The call comes after the Scottish and Welsh devolved governments set out their proposal for 38 amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill to stop what they describe as a “power grab” by their counterparts in Westminster. Scotland’s devolved settlement was built upon the presumption that the UK would continuously be part of the EU. click here to read the story 10:45

Marine Conservation Society fish stock downgrade branded meaningless by fishermen

The Marine Conservation Society said that two North Sea haddock fisheries are now rated 4 (amber), and the other has dropped from being a “good choice” – rated 2 – to one to eat only occasionally after scientists said stock was at the point where action is now needed to increase the number of fish of breeding age. But fishermen warned that the data did not reflect the picture on the ground. Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “The fishing industry is well used to these sorts of frankly meaningless publications – it’s not so long ago that we were told that there were only 100 cod left in the North Sea. Try telling that to fishermen today who are seeing huge volumes of large cod on the grounds. Read the story here 11:48

New research at Aberdeen University has highlighted the potential size of the prize awaiting Scots fishers after Brexit

The study looked at 17 commercially key Scottish fish stocks, focusing not on how big they were, but on their distribution. Comparisons were made between the percentages of fish largely contained within the UK’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), out to 200 nautical miles, and quota allocations. For all but three of the species studied, current UK quotas are significantly below stock levels within the EEZ. And according to Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive , these results strengthen the case for the UK seizing control over its territorial waters after Brexit. “It’s not fair and it’s not right,” Mr Armstrong said at a recent meeting of the North East Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership in Aberdeen. He argued Scottish fishers were at a disadvantage under the current EU arrangements and added: “This is not a land grab or an act of aggression – these are our waters. continue reading the article here 11:00

Fishing industry warns against “trading away” rights in Brexit negotiations

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation says there must be “no trading away” of UK fishing rights amid the Brexit process. It comes after yesterday’s white paper on leaving the EU was published. It shows in 2015, EU skippers caught over six times more fish in UK waters than British fishermen caught in Europe. The government paper also makes mention of a “mutually beneficial deal” for both parties post-Brexit. Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation welcomes the Prime Minister’s stated approach to the Brexit negotiations as one of anticipating success. Delivery of the White Paper vision of a world leading food industry is an ambition fully shared by the fishing sector. Read the story here 11:15

Fishing chiefs insist the industry is doing all it can to adhere to the discard ban

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) insisted fishers were doing “everything possible” to comply with the rules following claims by conservation group WWF the ban is being undermined by poor enforcement. SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “No-one hates discarding more than our fishermen, who are making a comprehensive effort to comply with this largely unworkable regulation. “Fishermen are doing everything possible to adhere to the rules, and industry and government are working closely together to develop more selective types of fishing gear that will reduce discarding even further. “Installing cameras on fishing vessels is no more than a side show and the presence or absence of them will not solve the problem. The real issue is getting the rules right and the proper refinements in place.” Read the rest here 16:57

Fishermen’s federations adopt united stance on Brexit

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federationbertie armstrong (SFF) and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) agreed the key outcomes they want from negotiations to leave the EU at a recent meeting in Edinburgh. The organisations say fishermen across the UK have welcomed Brexit as an opportunity to secure significant economic benefit for coastal communities once the UK regains control of its 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).  At the meeting it was agreed they would seek fairer shares of catching opportunity for UK vessels and full control over access to the UK EEZ by fishing fleets. They also want to see the creation of a “fit-for-purpose” management and regulation system, including a grass roots revision of fisheries management based on “sustainable harvesting and sound science.” The federations are calling for the establishment of mutually beneficial trading relationships with the EU and other countries. They also agreed that there must be no roll-over of the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and that negotiations regarding fisheries should not be entangled with non-fisheries issues. And they insist negotiations must benefit all sectors of the fishing industry, including inshore and offshore fleets, fish and shellfish. Read the rest here 09:52

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation opposes compulsory wearing of lifejackets for commercial fishermen.

ORA pfdThe MAIB said that the four fishermen who lost their lives during three accidents off Orkney, the Western Isles and Pembrokeshire could all have survived had they been wearing personal floating devices (PFDs). With the loss of nine fishermen at sea so far this year, the MAIB said the rate with which fishermen were losing their lives by drowning was showing no sign of abating. Safety officer for the SFF, Derek Cardno said an industry-led a scheme to supply PFDs to every fisherman in Scotland had a strong uptake. He added: “We are not convinced that making the wearing of a PFD a mandatory requirement will make the sole difference that is required. “We believe it is much better to focus on education and creating a new mind-set among fishermen. Read the rest here 13:53

Fishing chiefs to meet Scottish Government over Brexit

scottish fishermenScottish fishing leaders will hold meetings with key Government representatives this week to promote the opportunities they believe Brexit can deliver for Scotland’s coastal communities. Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, will give evidence tomorrow to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee in Glasgow to outline how he believes Brexit, if handled properly, could provide the framework for injecting fresh dynamism into Britain’s fishing communities. “But to achieve this, we need our politicians to be fully onside so that fishing is right at the heart of the Brexit process.“We will be telling UK and Scottish Government ministers that it would be unforgivable if fishing was traded away during the negotiations. Read the story here 14:28

BOMBSHELL REPORT! More than half of the fish and shellfish landed from UK EEZ caught by European fishing boats.

berti armstrong-sffBrexit has been welcomed as a “sea of opportunity” for Scottish fishers after a new report revealed foreign boats took out 58% of fish and shellfish from UK coastal waters – a catch worth up to £400million a year, it was claimed. The report found that EU boats caught around 650,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish in UK’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) between 2012 and 2014. In contrast, UK fishing boats fishing in EU waters landed on average 90,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish – worth only about £100million. The report, produced by the NAFC Marine Centre UHI in Shetland, found that more than half – 51% – of the fish and shellfish landed from the Scottish part of the EEZ was caught by European fishing boats. The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) claimed that exit from the EU will “enable the UK to assert control over its 200-mile EEZ”, which means that foreign vessels could not then fish in the zone without express consent. The body added that the report was a “bombshell” and urged the UK and Scottish Government to work together “to ensure that the best possible deal is reached for our hardworking fishermen”. Read the rest here 19:41

Rightfully, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation accuses think-tank of “pulling the wool over people’s eyes”

new_economics_foundation_108622A think-tank has been criticised for showing “a complete lack of understanding” of fisheries management in a new report shaming the UK, Denmark and Spain for mismanaging their seas. The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) said yesterday the New Economics Foundation (NEF) was also “pulling the wool over people’s eyes” by cherry-picking facts. NEF’s report – Landing the Blame: Overfishing in the Northeast Atlantic 2016 – claimed to have uncovered the EU countries most responsible for setting fishing quotas above scientific advice. It highlighted the UK, Denmark, and Spain as the worst offenders in terms of the total tonnage of fish quota set above advice. Read the rest here 08:09

European Union: Fish talks have greater than usual significance

10530873-european-union-logoIncreased fish quotas and greater catching flexibility must be agreed when the EU fisheries council starts tomorrow, if next year’s discard ban has a hope of working, the industry and politicians have agreed. Negotiations to finalise next year’s quotas that get underway in Brussels tomorrow have special significance for the Scottish industry because the phased introduction of the demersal Landing Obligation (discard ban) will deliver a major sea-change in the way fisheries are managed. The discard ban, which already affects mackerel and herring fishing,,, Read the article here 13:32

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation comment on deep-sea trawling study

Researchers at the University of Glasgow and Marine Scotland Science published a study (27 August) on the impact of deep-sea trawling at depths of 600m or more. However, commenting upon the study, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), said: “Whilst the number of Scottish boats working a deep-water fishery is small, they do nonetheless make a significant contribution to the economies of local communities, catching and landing only the limited and sustainable quotas allocated. Read the rest here 10:01

Cherry-picking the facts undermines green groups

What is it with some environmental groups and their appetite to be selective with the facts and not present a true reflection of our fisheries? The Pew Foundation and New Economics Foundation (NEF) appear to be in a league of their own in this department as is so vividly reflected by their two most recent reports. Pew in its ‘Turning the Tide’ report stated that in many cases the EU’s Atlantic nations set fishing limits ‘contrary’ to recent reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and continue to ‘overfish’ for many species. Meanwhile, NEF claimed that many stocks were fished beyond scientific advice and thus endangering fish stocks. Read the rest here 17:20

Politicians blast Scottish Fishermen’s Federation

TWO politicians from the North East of Scotland have urged fishermen to voice their opinions on the future of the industry, as they feel that the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) is failing to engage with key issues, including the Smith Commission. “That is why I am encouraging active fishermen, fish processors, box manufacturers, hauliers and anyone else involved to make their views on the future of the industry known. Read the rest here 14:36

Welcome to Fishing for the Truth – This is from Scotland, but it might as well be New England!

Welcome to Fishing for the Truth, a website dedicated to providing factual information on Scottish fisheries and the important role they play in supplying sustainably caught Scottish seafood that is renowned around the world for its quality. Scottish fishermen have become increasingly concerned about the amount of misinformation that is currently being peddled in the public domain about our fisheries. Fishing for the Truth is a factual resource designed to inform about the true state of our stocks and the various sustainability measures that have been adopted by the Scottish fleet in recent years. [email protected]

Must read: Fishermen caught in a net of bureaucracy – I have quickly come to lament the absurdity of a management system designed by consultants, environmental activists and celebrity chefs, rather than by those who have any idea how it could work. Link  12:28