Tag Archives: Scottish government

Industry welcomes confirmation that HPMA proposals have been scrapped

The move was welcomed by the fishing industry which had campaigned against the proposal. Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) executive officer Sheila Keith said members were pleased that common sense had prevailed. “The angst caused by the ill-conceived proposals was clear by the responses to the consultation which showed, when you removed campaign responses, 76 per cent of respondents opposed, and only 20 per cent supported the plans. “However, our concerns are not wholly alleviated as the government still discuss the implementation of “enhanced marine protection” over 10 per cent of Scottish waters. >>click to read<< 10:19

SNP fully scraps controversial fishing restrictions in final climbdown

Scottish Government minister Màiri McAllan announced her party will no longer pursue divisive plans to restrict fishing in 10% of Scotland’s seas. The environmental policy aimed to protect sea life under threat but was met with a huge backlash from concerned rural and coastal communities. In June, Ms Allan said HPMAs would no longer be implemented on schedule by 2026 as government ministers went back to the drawing board. It came weeks after leading figures from the country’s seafood sector held a major protest outside Holyrood. Now Ms McAllan has revealed the proposals will be ditched entirely following the angry responses from fishing industry leaders opposed to the scheme.  >>click to read<< 08:29

New Gov’t plan to track small fishing boats

Proposals to introduce electronic tracking and monitoring technology for small fishing vessels will be consulted on as part of package of new fisheries measures. The consultation proposes that vessel tracking devices will be required by Scottish commercial fishing vessels under 12 metres in length wherever they operate, and by all vessels of the that size when they operate in Scottish waters. It also asks whether Remote Electric Monitoring systems (REM) – which are more sophisticated than vessel tracking – should be required on some inshore vessels. A Scottish Government spokesperson explained: “Rolling out such technology across Scotland’s fishing fleet would show that vessels are operating sustainably and within the law, increasing consumer confidence in Scottish seafood. >click to read< 10:58

Ayrshire fishing industry: Consultation is launched

SNP MSP Siobhian Brown has welcomed plans from the Scottish Government that will attempt to boost the fishing industry in Ayr and Troon and has encouraged local stakeholders to engage with the consultation. The consultation on how to collaboratively improve inshore fisheries data, which was launched on August 14, includes proposals to introduce electronic tracking and monitoring technology for small fishing vessels, which will help to increase consumer confidence in Scottish seafood. It follows two recent consultations: one on Remote Electric Monitoring (REM) on board pelagic and scallop vessels, and the other on Scotland’s Future Catching Policy. These collaborative consultations, and the package of measures they will introduce, represent Scotland’s future as a world-class sustainable fishing nation. >click to read< 09:46

Small fishing boats in Scotland could be tracked under new plans

Small fishing vessels could be required to use tracking and monitoring systems under new proposals from the Scottish Government. A new consultation proposes that the devices be fitted to all commercial fishing vessels under 12 metres long. They are already required for vessels longer than this while fishing in waters around Europe. The Government also published the outcome of other fishing consultations, saying remote electronic monitoring – which is more sophisticated than vessel tracking – will become mandatory on large pelagic vessels and scallop dredgers. >click to read< 09:41

Government shelving HPMAs a ‘cautious win’ for industry

There remains concern from Shetland Fishermen’s Association, however, that an alternative could be worked up by government which may end up being similar to HPMAs. SFA officer Sheila Keith said one fisherman told her after news of the U-turn that the government had only kicked HPMAs into the “long grass” for a while. On Thursday the Scottish Government announced that after consulting communities it would be dropping its proposal for HPMAs. Keith commented that the SFA welcomed the news, but said it was a case of wait and see regarding what the government’s alternative “pathway” will be. She said the government has “basically just bought themselves time”. >click to read< 08:59

Breaking news: Scottish Government backs down over HPMAs

Mairi McAllan, Scotland’s Net Zero Secretary, announced today that both the timetable – with implementation due to take place by 2026 – and scope, covering 10% of Scotland’s coastal waters, were no longer government policy. The Scottish Government had published a consultation document last December, setting out plans for Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in which virtually no form of commercial activity – including all forms of fishing, aquaculture or offshore renewable energy installations – would be permitted. The proposals drew strong criticism from coastal communities, the fishing industry and the fish farming sector, and even from some Scottish National Party (SNP) members of the Scottish Parliament, including former Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing. >click to read< 09:55

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

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

Pelagic industry at loggerheads with government over new landing rules

The industry, consisting of 20 large pelagic trawlers including eight based in Shetland, said it stands to lose millions of pounds in revenue should it be legally required to land 55 per cent of mackerel and herring at Scottish ports. The requirement to demonstrate what is known as “a real economic link” of vessels to the country they are registered and licensed in is nothing new. In the past, fishing companies could comply with the rules by either landing 50 per cent of its quota into UK ports or employing crew of which 50 per cent lived in the UK, or by spending half of its operating cost in the UK. >click to read< 09:44

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

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

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

‘Cable corridors’ to stop boats cutting off island’s phone and internet

The archipelago in the North Sea lost phone, broadband and mobile services last month after a subsea cable was damaged. Faroese Telecom, the cable operator, said they believed it had been cut by fishing vessels. It was later confirmed by the Scottish Government that a fishing trawler hit the primary cable. There are now proposals for a designated corridor for undersea infrastructure cables to run along. It is hoped that these would give greater certainty to fishermen, as well as reducing the risk of telecommunications outages in future. >click to read< 10:45

New measures announced to boost Scots seafood industry

The Scottish Government has published its first strategy for the seafood sector, detailing how the fishing and aquaculture sectors are being supported to remain internationally competitive and attract skills and talent to some of Scotland’s most rural and coastal areas – despite the challenges of the post-Brexit trading environment. The strategy also highlights ongoing work to monitor and manage the marine space, so that consumers can have confidence in the sustainability of Scottish seafood. >click to read< 07:49

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

Warning of ‘environmental devastation’ of offshore wind farms

A campaign group has accused the offshore wind industry of creating “environmental devastation”, and claimed that the impact will become greater as more projects are developed. Scotland Against Spin took issue with a Scottish Government survey which found that a majority of people approve of offshore wind farms. Those living in coastal areas cited the economic benefits of offshore, according to the study, while the effects on tourism “could be minimal”. Industry body Scottish Renewables said the findings indicated that most members of the public recognise the social and economic importance of the offshore wind sector. However, Scotland Against Spin chairman Graham Lang maintained that offshore developments are posing a threat to seabirds, including puffins and kittiwakes, and to fish species such as haddock, cod and mackerel. >click to read< 20:19

A very concerned fisherman writes, Questions remain unanswered

I recently sent a letter to our Scottish Government requesting answers to questions on the following issues. How much of our country’s fishing grounds are to be sold off and covered with anchors and chains to hold offshore wind farms in place, thus, excluding UK fishing communities’ access to valuable fishing grounds? How many thousands of miles of expensive (plastic covered) copper cables will be required to be laid on the seabed, to transfer the generated power to where it is required? Has the carbon cost of the production of the windmills, the copper cables and the steel for the anchors and chains that will be required, running in various directions from each windmill to hold them in place; been included in the environmental and financial calculations, plus the windmill’s replacement roughly every twenty years? >click to read the rest< by William Polson, 08:07

Scottish Governments “senseless” ban on Firth of Clyde ‘ruining generations of business’

Furious fishermen have accused the Scottish Government of devastating their historic Firth of Clyde industry with a “senseless” ban. Boats in the area support more than 600 jobs, many of which are in small family businesses keeping the way of life alive for remote communities. But fishermen were left shocked when ministers implemented an 11-week ban in February, leaving them unable to earn a living. The move is designed to encourage the resurgence of cod stocks, but previous restrictions allowed vessels which didn’t interfere with their habitat to continue working. >click to read< 08:10

Clyde fishing ban: Scottish Government refuses financial support for creel fishermen

The news comes after an 11-week targeted cod ban, prohibiting all fishing activity where cod can spawn in the Firth of Clyde, came into place on February 14. Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon confirmed, in line with policy around similar management measures, including the National Cod Avoidance Plan and Marine Protected Areas,,, The minister said adapting the measures to exclude any exemptions such as creel fishing this year was the “right decision” to protect spawning cod based on “the best available scientific evidence”. However, scientists and academics have claimed there is “no evidence” creel fishing impacts cod spawning. >click to read< 08:36

Scottish officials ordered to withdraw from fishing talks with Russia

The Scottish Government has said it will not take part in any fisheries negotiations with the Russian Federation in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. Environment Secretary Mairi Gougeon has instructed Scottish Government officials to withdraw from any such negotiations until further notice. She confirmed the move as she called for talks over fish stocks involving both the UK and Russia to be postponed. >click to read< 11:22

Clyde fishing ban: ‘No scientific evidence of creel fishing impact on cod spawning’

A Scottish university professor says science around the effect of creel fishing on cod spawning is ‘completely lacking’ as trawlermen continue to be impacted by a ban. These observations come after a targeted cod ban prohibiting all fishing activity where cod can spawn in the Firth of Clyde came into place on February 14. Paul McAllister, a creel boat skipper based at Campbeltown Harbour in Kintyre, said he continues to feel “purposefully ignored” by the Scottish Government and “weighed down” after he closed his business due to the ban. >click to read< 08:37

‘Never-ending battle’ for creel fisherman as Jenni Minto MSP seeks support after ban

A creel fisherman based at the Clyde continues to feel ignored and neglected as an MSP has asked the Scottish Government to consider “all options” to support families affected by a ban. Jenni Minto, SNP MSP for Argyll and Bute, has written to the Scottish Government to ask for support to be considered for fishermen impacted by a closure in the Clyde. Despite the MSP’s action, creel fisherman Paul McAllister said he continues to feel “purposefully ignored” by the Scottish Government and “weighed down”. Last week, the Scottish Government said the ban would have “short-term costs” to protect the cod population. >click to read< 08:27

Fishermen feeling the squeeze as Scotland’s seas become overcrowded

Fishers are being crowded out of their traditional grounds by a combination of renewable energy developments and “excessive” conservation measures, they said. These pressures may lead to vast areas of Scottish waters being closed off or subjected to severe restrictions, they warned. “Coastal communities currently reap the benefits of the seafood brought back by our sustainable, modern, family-owned fishing fleet. “Profits from offshore windfarms will disappear into the budgets of private, wealthy, multinational energy firms.” >click to read< 10:05

History repeating itself?

The Scottish Government have recently published a report with the headline Just Transition: A Fairer, Greener Scotland. A win-win situation one might think, profits for the government and a greener future to appease their Green Party colleagues in government. However, where there are winners; someone usually has to lose, so what is to be lost in this transaction and for whom? The loss here will be to every fishing community on the periphery of Scotland, with residents that harvest the bounty that nature annually provides from the seabed around our shores. That ability to harvest the seabed is now being stolen from the fishing communities, as it is being sold off to the highest bidders; by the new Crown Estate landowners, our own Scottish Government in Edinburgh. >click to read< By William Polson 09:55 – Scotland’s offshore wind sector gets $951 million boost as parts of seabed leased out – The Scottish offshore wind sector received a boost this week after a program to lease areas of Scotland’s seabed for wind farm developments raised just under £700 million (around $952 million). >click to read< 12:29

Fishermen slam ‘soul-destroying’ decision to end Clyde fishing exemption

Fishermen have slammed the Scottish Government’s ‘soul-destroying’ decision to introduce new cod stock protection measures in the Firth of Clyde. The government is ending an exemption letting creel and scallop dredgers and langoustine trawlers use the area during the approaching spawn season. For more than two decades, measures were in place to protect spawning cod in the Firth of Clyde, with the area being closed off for 11 weeks between 14 February and 30 April. The group said that the “total loss of income” would affect many small family boats for months, which is a burden to the fishing communities following Brexit and the pandemic. >click to read< 09:11

Pushing the Limit: Councillor floats idea of devolving some fisheries control to Shetland

Duncan Anderson, who represents the North Isles, pointed to the Scottish Islands Act which gives scope for local authorities to request more powers or functions. The Scottish Government has the responsibility for managing inshore fishing out to the 12 mile limit. A precedent was set more than 20 years ago when the management of the local commercial shellfish fishery out to the six mile limit was devolved to the Shetland Shellfish Management Organization. Anderson, who is from the fishing community of Whalsay, said he “firmly believes that Shetland should control the fisheries in what would be Shetland’s EEZ, like our Faroese neighbours”. >click to read< 15:47

The grants have been an absolute lifeline – Resilience Fund Supports the Fleet

More than 850 fishing vessels affected by Coronavirus and Brexit have received resilience funding from the Scottish Government this year. ‘I’m hugely grateful for the Scottish Government’s speedy response to our dire situation, firstly in March 2020 when there was the COVID-19 ‘market collapse’ and then in February in when the chaos caused by Brexit export restrictions hit us like a brick,’ said Kenneth Lamond, owner and skipper of the F/V  Dunan Star which trawls for prawns around Skye, Small Isles and the Minches. ‘The speed with which the grant package got to boats saved many jobs and livelihoods up here – we couldn’t have got to sea without this aid and I would have had to let my crew go. The timely assistance is directly responsible for three families’ continued livelihoods and our tiny fishing community around Elgol would have been really struggling without this aid.’ >click to read< 13:58

Forgotten industries – Auctioning off enormous areas of precious fishing grounds to offshore wind farm developers

At a time when Scottish fishing communities are still trying to come to terms with the regulations they face after the Westminster Government’s adoption of a Brexit deal,,, The Scottish Government appear to be intent on heaping more pressure on the Scottish fishing communities, as they are presently auctioning off enormous areas of precious fishing grounds to wind farm developers and are creating massive Marine Protected Areas, that prohibits fishing activities. This will concentrate the fishing effort in other areas, putting more pressure on the available fish stocks in what fishing grounds are left. By William Polson, Whalsay, Shetland.  >click to read< 18:12