A man with isles origins was today elected president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) at a meeting of its executive committee, held at the Shetland Museum.
Alan Coghill from takes over from Ian Gatt, who has held the post since 2007 and who decided to step down following his recent appointment as chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association.
Mr Coghill left Shetland in the 1970s and moved to Orkney, where he has been heavily involved in the fishing industry as secretary of the Orkney Fisheries Association, as well as running a shellfish business.
He said: “I’m delighted to have been elected as president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and pledge to do everything in my power to ensure that all sectors of our important industry gets a fair deal in this increasingly difficult time for fishing.
“There are many challenges ahead, including threats from Iceland and the Faroes to increase their mackerel quotas, and the continuing difficulties for the whitefish and prawn sectors in terms of effort control and other restrictions. These are all issues that must be resolved to ensure that fishing has a sustainable and profitable future.”
The new president said that being from Shetland, he was looking forward to representing the views of local fishermen from both Northern Isles groups.
Mr Coghill said: “I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s a very difficult time for the fishing industry and we’re going to have to work very hard and work together with the rest of the industry.”
SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “Alan has proved an excellent representative for the fishing industry and his appointment as president will ensure that the interests of all fishermen will continue to be well served.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Ian Gatt who has been a superb president for the federation and who has won plaudits from throughout the industry for his hard work in promoting its interests.
“Ian was always acutely aware of the importance of serving the needs of every sector of the industry and this was much appreciated by all fishermen.”