Liberal Democrat candidate Tavish Scott has raised the potential for the Scottish government’s discard ban – no fish to be dumped at sea – to hit the viability of Shetland’s whitefish fleet.
Mr Scott highlighted the issue during a visit to the Lerwick fishmarket on Wednesday morning as part of his Scottish election campaign.
The ban was introduced in January 2016 and will be extended to more species of fish next year. The proposed government rules are causing real worries to the industry.
Mr Scott, one of four seeking election as the constituency MSP, said: “Local boats fear they will be tied to the pier by the imposition of unworkable government rules.
“I will work with the local industry to press for a sensible approach. That means rules that work.
“A discard ban – stopping the dumping of any fish caught – may be fine in principle but is impossible to implement in a mixed fishery.
“Shetland’s whitefish boats catch a mixture of fish. So the government rules have to both understand that and accommodate the reality of fishing.
“So far the industry tell me that their warnings have been falling on the Scottish government’s deaf ears.
“I will work with the Shetland Fishermen’s Association and local boats to press for the right approach.
“Seafood is Shetland’s biggest industry. It is worth more than £350 million. So the government cannot be allowed to put that success in jeopardy.
“We need a better approach than we have had from the last Scottish government.”