Scott to brief minister on different needs of isles fishermen
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott is meeting Scottish fishing minister Richard Lochhead on Wednesday afternoon, to brief him on the needs of isles fishermen in the run-up to the December Fisheries Council.
Mr Scott will be accompanied by his fellow MSPs Liam McArthur (Orkney) and Alasdair Allan (Western Isles).
Mr Scott said: “The outcome of the December meeting of the Fisheries Council is of crucial importance to Shetland’s fishermen. It is where rules are set which determine the financial success or failure of 2010.
“In the run up, the minister will be heavily lobbied by the industry and others. There are differences between the Shetland fleet and the bigger fleets from north-east ports and I want to raise that at Wednesday’s meeting.
“Fishing is of far greater importance to Shetland than it is to Scottish mainland ports. Our boats are largely crewed by local men, while north-east boats have to rely more and more on fishermen from outside the UK. Our boats are owned by fishermen shareholders. They are the economic backbone of communities such as Whalsay.”
Mr Scott said he intended to make sure the minister was reminded of the vital importance to the Shetland economy of the isles fleet.
He said: “Our whitefish fishermen need to have the fishing opportunities required to keep their boats in business. New boats and younger fishermen have joined the Shetland fleet in recent years. They need a secure future.
“Meanwhile our pelagic fishermen have to have a worthwhile quota of mackerel, so I will be stressing the importance of not coming out of the EU Norway negotiations having swapped large quantities of our mackerel for other stocks.
“The meeting will allow the interests of Shetland fishing industry, and of the fishing industries in the other two island groups, to be highlighted at this crucial stage in the run-up to the December meeting.”