Tag Archives: Scotland

SNP must dump the Greens and ditch HPMAs

In England, marine conservationists have persuaded the Westminster Government to designate around 0.53% of coastal waters as HPMAs in a series of pilot projects. But in Scotland, the area is more than 20 times greater, threatening livelihoods and entire fishing communities. Kate Forbes, the former SNP contender for the job of First Minister, says that “if the proposals go ahead as planned, the rarest species in our coastal areas and islands will soon be people.” Scotland’s fishing communities are not alone in their opposition to new marine conservation measures. In Europe, fishers from many countries are staging a series of protests against European Commission proposals aimed at “protecting and restoring marine ecosystems for sustainable and resilient fisheries”. >click to read< 08:40

SNP MP urges locals to oppose marine protection plans

The proposals to restrict fishing and other human activities in some coastal areas are designed to protect wildlife and the environment. But fishing industry representatives, along with people in many communities in the Highlands and Islands, have raised concerns – as have several of the SNP’s own MSPs. Mr. O’Hara, an outspoken critic of his party’s plan to introduce HPMAs on the west coast, has urged his constituents to make their opinions known to the Scottish government by contacting his office directly to have their views collated and shared with Holyrood ministers. >click to read< 08:30

HMPAs: Ross Greer put in his place by furious fishermen over ‘contemptuous’ marine ban tweet

Ross Greer made a “contemptuous comment” about the impact of fishing bans on coastal areas amid the ongoing backlash against the proposed Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). “The fisherman in the North Sea of the 1830s could catch one ton of halibut a day. Now the annual halibut take of the North Sea is two tons.” Fifth generation fisherman Kenneth MacNab said: “You know absolutely nothing about fishing or stocks but your welcome to come out anytime you wish just to let you see what actual work is and what fishermen have to do to support their communities to put it into perspective HPMAs will be 10 times worse than Brexit ever was.” >click to read< 07:49

South Shields lifeboat, the Bedford, restored by maritime trust

Constructed in 1886, The Bedford was the last lifeboat to be built by the Tyne Lifeboat Institution – now the Tyne Lifeboat Society. She was launched on 55 occasions between 1887 and 1937 and is of great historical significance to the maritime heritage of South Shields. The Bedford was built in 1886 by Lancelot Lambert at the Lawe Building Yard. It was named by a Miss Bedford, who bequeathed £1,000 – about £468,900 in today’s money- to the Lifeboat Society Trustees for a lifeboat to be named in memory of her brother, Benjamin, who was an engineer with the Tyne Improvement Commission. Photos,  >click to read< 17:45

Minister must stop and rethink on HPMAs, says fisheries leader

In remarks at the opening of the Scottish Skipper Expo at the P&J Live in Aberdeen, the sector’s biggest annual showcase, Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said ministers had failed to make the case for Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). She told Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon, who attended the event: “I’m sorry to say that our recent experience in engaging with the government on HPMAs has been far from meaningful. We all need to work to protect nature and we all need to act to help tackle climate change. But this is not the way to do it. I absolutely know I am not alone in calling for the government to stop and rethink these proposals, which are causing great concern and anxiety all around Scotland’s coast. >click to read< 11:16

HPMAs: Tiree’s economy could sink unless plans are scrapped

In Tiree, there are good years and bad years. Years when crab and lobster are plentiful, years when they are not. Small boats work using fixed-line, static gear. Tiree fishermen place their creels with the precision afforded by sonar technology. There is no bycatch. Anything which will not be landed is thrown back alive. Many are voluntarily notching lobsters to ensure future stocks. Now, with the government’s proposals for statutory HPMAs, we are being told that our seas must be even more highly protected – from the people who live and work here. From us. >click to read< 10:01

Enterprise III Joins the Fraserburgh Fleet

Enterprise III has been delivered to James Lovie and his partners, and is a Vestværftet design, outfitted and completed at the yard in Hvide Sande on a hull fabricated in Poland. The new trawler headed for Fraserburgh to start its fishing career and to make its first landings. Accommodation on board is for up to eleven and is fitted out to an exceptionally high standard. The deck is laid out with three trawl winches controlled by a Scantrol autotrawl, three pairs of sweepline winches at the head of the long trawl desk with drums large enough to spool ground gear, three net drums over the trawl lanes, pairs of bagging, outhaul and codend winches, and a forward mooring winch. Photos, >click to read< 17:37 and partners

Banff and Buchan MP criticises Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP for ‘disowning fishing industry’

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has criticised Karen Adam for “disowning the fishing industry” and putting “political games ahead of constituents” after she voted against reconsidering proposals on Highly Protected Marine Areas despite widespread concern from the sector. Mr Duguid said the SNP Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP was “happy to see the fishing sector sink” as she opted against changing “catastrophic” plans for a partial squeeze in Scottish waters. Just three SNP MSPs, Kate Forbes, Fergus Ewing and Alasdair Allan, did not vote with the rest of their party while three others Annabelle Ewing, Christine Grahame and Ash Regan abstained. >click to read< 12:45

Fishing industry reels over government’s HPMA plans

A statement on behalf of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Seafood Scotland, Salmon Scotland, Scottish Association of Fish Producers Organisation and Community Fisheries Inshore Alliance was released after politicians debated the issue in Holyrood on Tuesday. The motion, put forward by Beatrice Wishart MSP, was highly emotive with politicians and industry leaders calling the government’s proposal baseless. The statement said: “We call on the Government to listen to those whose livelihoods depend on putting Scottish seafood on people’s plates; those who would be most impacted. >click to read< 11:23

Fisherman prepares to take to the stage with HPMA protest song

Vatersay fisherman Donald Francis MacNeil talks to Jacqueline Wake Young about The Clearances Again, the protest song he co-wrote with Celtic band Skipinnish, as they prepare to perform it live at Aberdeen Music Hall concert on May 12. DF, as he is known to family and friends, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a fisherman as soon as he left school. “Many young men did the same. You could leave school on Friday and start on a fishing boat on Monday. It was very much a natural option and I enjoyed it.” Now the 64-year-old is about to face another challenge – singing on stage with Skipinnish after their protest song reached number five in the iTunes downloads chart. >click to read< 11:50

SNP minister says fishing ban ‘will not be imposed’ on communities

Scotland’s Net Zero Secretary has defended her government’s controversial plans to expand protected marine areas – insisting that no sites have been identified and proposals will not be “imposed” on coastal communities. Fishing bosses have reacted angrily to plans by the Scottish Government to consider introducing highly protected marine areas (HMPAs). Under the plans, designated areas would be under rules to “strictly protect and leave undisturbed, all natural processes of the marine ecosystem”, including “the seabed, water column habitats and everything that lives in the protected area”. >click to read< 09:12

UK response to visa rule concerns branded an ‘insult’ to Scottish fishermen

New rules came into force last week affecting the visas most commonly used by non-UK fishermen. The industry heavily criticised the move, saying it could lead to businesses in the Highlands and islands closing down. Now Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has raised these concerns directly with the Home Office and says the UK Government’s decision is “economically illiterate, politically inept and morally indefensible”. However, new rules came into force last week banning anyone on transit visas from carrying out work on fishing boats, and requiring them to get a skilled workers visa instead. >click to read< 12:25

Former SNP MSP quits party over plan to ban fishing that could ‘devastate’ coastal communities

Angus MacDonald, who served at Holyrood for a decade before stepping down in 2021, is the latest figure to criticise the introduction of highly protected marine areas (HPMAs). The Scottish Government has committed to designating at least 10 per cent of the country’s coastline as highly protected in an effort to boost ecosystems. Commercial and recreational fishing would be banned in the zones as well as the harvesting of seaweed. MacDonald, who lives on the isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, believes the law would be devastating to the economy of coastal communities. >click to read< 10:16

Fishermen in protest song comparing proposed fishing ban to Highland Clearances

Two fishermen have written a protest song against plans to ban fishing in 10% of Scottish waters, saying they consider the move one of the biggest risks to rural life since the Highland Clearances. Donald MacNeil, 64, said fishing has been his “whole life” and it supports his family as well as the community he lives in on Vatersay in the Outer Hebrides. He has teamed up with fellow fisherman Angus MacPhail, the founder of Celtic band Skipinnish, to make his recording debut in the track The Clearances Again – a stand against plans to introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). >click to read< 10:44

Fishing could be finished for me and my young son

Callum Elliott is a fisherman on the west coast of Scotland, but he’s worried about the future for himself and his 18-month-old son Angus. His village of Tarbert in Argyll is built around the harbour and its small boats like Callum’s trawler Sea Spray. Callum, 37, comes from a farming background but felt the calling of the sea from a young age. Ten years ago this week he took out a six-figure bank loan to buy his small trawler but feels there’s now too little support for traditional fishing communities. Cabling from wind turbines, seaweed farming and the presence of military bases have all heaped pressure on the same marine space meaning it’s becoming squeezed. Photos, >click to read< 19:07

A Crab’s Eye View of Brexit

Of all the vexing regulations that Brexit has thrust upon Paul Knight’s shellfish exporting business, the one he finds most absurd is this: Before he can deliver his crabs and lobsters to France and Spain, they must be certified by a veterinarian. Before Brexit that was relatively simple. But now, because of all the extra paperwork required, Alastair Mackie, the Dignity Jay’s skipper, must deliver his shellfish earlier. So he will finish fishing by 11.30 a.m., rather than 5 p.m., to get his catch on a ferry from the Isle of Mull to Oban on the Scottish mainland. Each week, the early finish cuts one day’s catch in half. When it took full effect, in January 2021, Brexit ended an era of easy trade with his markets in continental Europe.   >click to read< 12:34

Fight for the Future! Harris skipper urges Isles MSP to take stronger stance on HPMAs

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan MSP needs to stop “downplaying” the concerns voiced by fishermen over the threat to their livelihoods posed by a controversial new environmental designation, it was claimed this week. Harris fisherman Iain Dix has been in correspondence with Mr Allan over the last few weeks on the subject of Highly Protected Marine Areas. Mr Dix said Mr Allan’s response was “totally lacking in the seriousness conveyed to you in the past number of weeks” by your constituents. He told the MSP: “Where you talk of ‘concerns’ and ‘potential damage’, the fishing industry and our representatives have repeatedly told you of the sheer anger and disbelief regarding these proposals, and the obliteration of our industry and islands they will bring. >click to read< 15:14

Banff and Buchan MP urges rethink of Highly Protected Marine Area plans

David Duguid MP has written to Scottish Government minister Mairi Gougeon MSP urging her to rethink proposals for Highly Protected Marine Areas following concerns that they restrict twenty times as much as the UK Government’s plans for English waters. In his letter to the rural affairs secretary, Mr Duguid has hit out at the impact the proposals will have on Scotland’s fishing fleet and has asked why HPMAs in Scottish waters are being implemented on an immediately permanent basis and not on a trial/pilot period like the rest of the United Kingdom. >click to continue< 14:58

Dunbar: Call to report unlicensed fishermen selling stolen shellfish

Residents and businesses from throughout the county are being urged to report unlicensed fishermen who have been stealing from creels and selling stolen shellfish caught in and around Dunbar. The town’s harbour is home to nearly 30 fishing vessels ranging from six to 15 metres long. In recent years, it has experienced thefts from crab and lobster creels, as well as fishing equipment being stolen. The issue has been made worse by the poaching of undersized crabs and lobsters, as well as egg-laden queens, by unlicensed fishermen.  >click to read< 10:49

Scottish fishing group asks government to ‘radically rethink’ marine protected area plan

SFF chief executive Elspeth Macdonald said the Scottish Government’s blue economy plans “have been hijacked by the Greens and will push the fishing industry into the red.” “On top of the existing spatial squeeze caused by the dash to build huge offshore windfarms with little consideration for their impact on fisheries, the (Scottish) government wants to close a further 10% of our waters to fishing vessels – with no evidence whatsoever that doing so will achieve ministers’ vague conservation aims, nor any attempt to understand the effect of displacing the fishing fleet,” she said. >click to read< 09:42

MPA’s: Scottish island faces being ‘wiped out’ by SNP’s green crackdown on fishing in its rich waters

Tiree, population 653, is known as the Hawaii of the North but islanders say it will become ‘non-viable’ if a Highly Protected Marine Area is imposed by Holyrood ministers. Now the risk is that a new environmental protection area would kill the island’s fishing boat trade, which is one of the few economic growth sectors. Having gone from two boats in 1995 to nine boats today, which provide 20 full time jobs, the annual catch of crab and lobster has a value of £1million. Tiree fisherman Neil MacPhail said: “If this (HPMA) landed on top of us we would be wiped out overnight, with one stroke of the pen on a chart.”He added: “My boat alone puts food on the table for eleven people. One boat’s worth of economic impact is huge in a community such as Tiree. It’s the only industry in the island which has genuinely bucked the depopulation trend.”  >click to read< 18:07

Best Medium Trawler – Celestial Dawn – Macduff Ship Design

An up-to-the-minute take on a very traditionally styled Scottish trawler, this vessel was designed for a very experienced owner who operates in a very challenging part of the world. The trawler is brutally efficient but manages to combine that with a certain elegance. The company said that the vessel’s design is the latest stage of several years of collaboration and development. Striking the right balance with these improvements and retaining both ease of operation and layout, which has been refined over decades within the local fishing fleet, was key to ensuring a successful vessel. >click to read< >read more with more photos< 07:49

Scottish fishers blast Holyrood for ‘scandalous’ marine policy tantamount to ‘greenwashing’

Mike Park was speaking as the clock ticks down on a Scottish Government consultation on its controversial proposals for Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). Another industry leader, Elspeth Macdonald, branded the plans as “greenwashing”. And Banff and Buchan Tory MP David Duguid claimed they were “the biggest threat to the north-east fishing industry for decades”. But the government hailed its proposals as “a step change in the protection of our marine environment”. It aims to have at least 10% of Scottish waters designated as HPMAs by 2026. >click to read< 07:45

Issues raised over Highly Protected Marine Areas

Scottish Government plans to designate at least 10 per cent of Scotland’s seas as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) are the “biggest threat to the north-east fishing industry for decades”, a MP has warned. Mr Duguid said the Scottish Government’s plans to install HPMAs and offshore wind, to a larger extent than elsewhere in the UK, is causing concerns of “spatial squeeze” and will be detrimental to the Scottish fleet. It follows concerns from organizations including the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation (SFF) which described the plans as “government greenwashing” while “prioritizing political objectives over good policymaking and decision-taking”.  >click to read< 15:45

Scots fisherman died after getting caught in gear and dragged overboard

A Scots fisherman who had more than 40 years of experience died after getting caught in fishing gear and dragged overboard, a probe into his death has found. Peter Gray was alone on his creel boat, Saint Peter, catching crab and lobster when the accident occurred on May 2, 2021, near Torness Point, Dunbar. Peter, 63, was accidentally pulled overboard by his ankle when trying to free tangled creels at some point between 8.30am and 10.30am, marine investigators found. The skipper was unable to reboard his vessel and spent up to 10 hours in the water, suffering a fatal heart attack at some point. >click to read< 11:27

Fishing vessel Christina S launched

On the weekend of January 20-22, another fishing vessel was launched at Karstensen Shipyard Poland in Gdynia – this time it is a 77-meter pelagic trawler Christina S. Christina S was created in Karstensen for Christina S Fishing from Fraserburgh, Scotland. The process of launching Christina S was very complex and involved several stages. First, special carts on which the unit was located had to position it perpendicular to the quay. A special submersible pontoon was already waiting on the water, to which the hull was transported. 20 photos, video, >click to read< 09:55

No auction at Peterhead Fish Market after boycott by processors

The Aberdeenshire town is the biggest white fish port in Europe and the market is one of the largest. The dispute centres around Peterhead Port Authority’s decision to stop certain buying practices which it said are anti-competitive. It operates as a traditional shout auction with processors bidding for boxes of fish landed at the harbour. Until recently, as part of that, the practice of so-called bid sharing or ringing was commonly used, which is when buyers sometimes bid in groups rather than individually. However, Peterhead Port Authority, which runs the market, is putting a stop to this. >click to read< 07:29

House of Lords peer calls for Holy Island fishing ban proposal to be dropped

Lord Curry of Kirkhale, who sits in the House of Lords, has written to environment secretary Thérèse Coffey to express concerns about Defra plans to designate it a Highly Protected Marine Area (HPMA). There has been strong local opposition to the proposal, backed by Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan and county councillors Colin Hardy and Guy Renner-Thompson. Lord Curry, in a letter to the secretary of state, writes: “A HMPA ban on fishing would, as Holy Island’s fishermen and residents have expressed, end a thousands-of-years-old industry which still stands at the heart of their community today.” >click to read< 09:48

The moment an Ayrshire fishing crew rescue another boat off the coast of Arran in horrific conditions

The moment an Ayrshire fishing crew saved fellow fishermen in horrific conditions has been captured in dramatic footage. The F/V Spes Bona crew from Troon hauled a stricken trawler which had broken down off the coast of Arran on Monday. The failed boat, with three crew members of board, was towed nine miles through ferocious conditions as stormy weather battered the Firth of Clyde. A video showing the hair-raising rescue has gone viral, chalking up more than 4,000 views in just a matter of days, with viewers left stunned by the footage. But Spes Bona captain Donald Gibson says the scenes are a regular occurrence out in the open seas. Video, >click to read< 10:01

Simple solution found to reduce number of whales getting caught in fishing gear

A working group has come up with a simple solution to use heavier sinking rope connecting fishing creels, which will in turn reduce entanglements. At the moment, creel fishermen often use rope that floats, in which whales, dolphins and other marine animals can become entangled in. Creels, also known as pots, are connected by ropes, which are set around Scotland’s coasts to catch prawns, crabs and lobsters. During the project, commercial creel fishermen from all around the Scottish coast were interviewed and their contribution allowed the researchers to better understand the nature and extent of entanglements in Scotland’s waters. The findings have been published in the journal Endangered Species Research. >click to read< 12:11