22nd November 2017

Ferry contract must pay heed to booming fishing industry, says Collins

Fishermen are demanding the “huge growth” in landings are considered when the Scottish government looks to the new lifeline ferry service.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) said whitefish landings surpassed 300,000 boxes in 2013 and have grown steadily, with almost 14,000 tonnes worth £29 million sold through Shetland Seafood Auction in 2016. At the midway point this year, 8,000 tonnes worth £17.5 million had already been sold.

The association said this upward trend is likely to continue, with the UK set to exit the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

SFA executive officer Simon Collins said: “As Scottish government officials start to look towards the tender for the next Northern Isles ferry services contract, they need to reflect on the huge growth in fish landings and the fact that this will continue in the years ahead.

“Shetland is already the UK’s biggest fishing port after Peterhead, and most of our whitefish is exported to the mainland and beyond.”

Mr Collins said fishing was the isles’ biggest economic sector with crews continuing to invest in the industry. Stocks were “as healthy as they have been for decades”.

He added: “Ministers need to recognise the importance of providing plenty of capacity in this vital first link in the export chain.”

The looming EU departure Mr Collins said the UK would regain control of quotas with further growth in landings likely.

He added: “Under the CFP almost 60 per cent of the UK’s fish stocks are caught by boats from EU countries; when we resume control of our seas that will no longer be the case.

“While at this point we would obviously seek to reach access agreements with our fellow Coastal States, we would have first call on quota and would anticipate significant further growth in landings.”

14 comments

  1. Peter James Dodge

    Taking on board and agreeing with very much of your contribution but I sincerely hope that you have the full details as to where all these fish have gone / are going and any historical sale patterns for the various species.
    To take for granted that these markets will continue during negotiations during and post Brexit would be the utmost folly. Who is to say that there will not be occasions when fish lorries will not be burnt at Calais ( with no compensation) to impose an already untrustworthy Westminster Government to allow continued access to our waters?
    It would be utterly naive to think Gibralter and 101 other obscure factors will not be brought into play and yet again the Scottish fishing industry will be number one on the expendable list!

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      (Yawn) The SNP view: “After Brexit EU citizens will stop eating fish.”

      In other words, “We’re DOO-OOMED, ah tell ye,… we’re DOO-OOMED! 🙂

      Reply
      • Bill Adams

        (Yawn) The view from the potting shed down in Argyll.

        More nonsensical SNP BAAD rantings from the Oracle of Arrochar.

      • John Tulloch

        Bill, let me explain:

        My point was that I expect EU citizens will continue to eat fish after Brexit and they haven’t got very much of their own so they will need ours.

        Also, I’m desperately weary of bogus scare stories about Brexit.

        Do you have anything to say about that or the ferry contract?

  2. Ian Tinkler

    No Peter Dodge, it will not be the SNP backing the European CFP running the show this time. So quit your futile scaremongering. It is a big world out there, way bigger than the EU.

    Reply
  3. Andrew Shearer

    Dear Sir, fish landings in Shetland and exports to Aberdeen ought not to be the only criteria for the new ferry arrangements. There are other more important criteria for consideration. These ought to be economic sustainability of the ferry service, in terms of best value to the tax-payer across Scotland, and the environmental sustainability of the service. Another consideration ought to be the positive impact economically to other peripheral areas in Scotland, rather than the continued drain from north to south of our economies. Further, there are no guarantees of continued expansion of landings at Lerwick. Other ports will compete for this trade, should it increase. For these economic, environmental and social reasons, the Scottish government ought to explore and commit to future ferry services to a port other than Aberdeen, such as Invergordon, Wick or Scrabster. However unlikely this might be, due not to sound economic, environmental and social policy, but rather to an emotional tie with Aberdeen by those in Shetrans, few of whose members may even be aware of where these ports are.

    Reply
    • Peter Smith

      Interesting comments. At what point do you think other ports decide to compete against Lerwick, in what is clearly already an increasing trade? I would also say I have no connection with shetrans, nor emotional attachment to Aberdeen, but what I do like is its convenient road, rail, bus, and aeroplane connections. You may convince me when Ryanair or Jet2 open a base at Wick.

      Reply
  4. Peter James Dodge

    Well if nothing other this site generously offers the opportunity for idiot value contributions from all and sunder with some deep seated contempt for the National Party of Scotland and any individual with an interest in seeing Scotland flourish yet again as an independent Scandi / Celtic nation on the world stage.
    However, back to the to the the topic of the Shetland fishing industry. I have no recollection of having encountered Messrs Tulloch or Tinkler during all my years working for the Fisheries division of the Shetland Islands Council Development Department, so readers will understand if I refrain from commenting further on their pretty futile, ignorant and pathetic contributions.Instead let us concentrate on trying to manage what might turn out to be a huge transition to our existing fish sales pattern.
    No one can accurately predict at as to what shape or form will evolve at the present. However,
    the S.F.A, N.A.F.C. and L.H.D. and the local buyers between them ought to have have an amazing record of the sale patterns over recent years since the Dutch Auction which upgraded Shetland’s landing status to such new heights.
    Naturally given our family’s interest in the catching sector we look forward to any SFA comments as to how they see markets panning out; both in the short term and long term.
    Peter Dodge

    Reply
    • ian tinkler

      Sad really Peter, all those years working for the Fisheries division of the Shetland Islands Council Development Department achieved nothing. Now one BREXIT vote and the future for the fishing looks good. No wonder you are so bitter!

      Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Peter,

      You needn’t come crowing to me about working in the SIC development department. They are the very ones who rejected, without serious consideration, the proposed new, state of the art factory in Whalsay that could have made the SIC millions.

      I repeat: EU consumers will not stop eating fish because of Brexit. The vast bulk of their fish comes from Britain or EFTA countries They have little of their own so will need ours. Tariffs will most likely result in some combination of:

      (a) EU consumers paying more for their fish,
      (b) Lower prices for fishermen, compensated by bigger quotas/catches,
      (c) Free trade deals with others e.g. USA, enabling processors find other, tariff-free markets.

      Try listening to people in the industry, instead of chewing the cud on past ‘glories’.

      Reply
  5. Peter James Dodge

    Both of you, Messrs Tulloch and Tinkler seek a reply, well since you appear to live in a different planet this may take some time to reach you!
    As to where on earth you can extrapolate that I am bitter over Brexit from my response to the SFA article leaves me utterly perplexed. You most obviously do not know my personal position on the situation and its opportunities but you wildly go on to presume that you do, thereby as ever, making utter cuifs of yourselves by ranting on in your own inimitable style. At least you provide some droll humour for the rest of us.
    If it helps you any further to see where I am coming from, try slowly reading the last sentence of my previous submission!

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Peter James Dodge, I did not seek any reply from you.

      My interpretation of your “personal position” came from your own comment, viz.:

      “To take for granted that these markets will continue during negotiations during and post Brexit would be the utmost folly. Who is to say that there will not be occasions when fish lorries will not be burnt at Calais ( with no compensation) to impose an already untrustworthy Westminster Government to allow continued access to our waters?
      It would be utterly naive to think Gibraltar and 101 other obscure factors will not be brought into play and yet again the Scottish fishing industry will be number one on the expendable list!”

      Pure scaremongering, hence my reference to Dad’s Army’s Private Fraser.

      Rant on with as many insults as you like, my point about EU consumers continuing to eat fish, during and after Brexit, stands.

      Reply
  6. Ian Tinkler

    Peter Dodge, read this slowly, “Now one BREXIT vote and the future for the fishing looks good. No wonder you are so bitter!”. I never said nor implied you were bitter about Brexit, my comment for your bitterness referred to your utter failure to achieve anything of consequence whilst working for the Fisheries division of the Shetland Islands Council. You, with others, you were conspicuous due to your inconsequentiality and irrelevance to the Shetland fishing industry. Now because of Brexit so much has more has already been achieved.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-takes-key-step-towards-fair-new-fishing-policy-after-brexit

    Reply
  7. John N Hunter

    I’ve been wondering what will happen to those increased catches after Brexit. I hope they don’t end up sitting rotting in the trucks waiting to clear customs as no trade agreements have been reached.

    Reply

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