Fishing fleet and Shetland Greens join forces to call for end to gillnetting

Local fishermen and the Shetland Green party have written to the Scottish government demanding an instant end to gillnetting in Scottish waters.

The practices sees huge plastic nets used to capture everything swimming within their vicinity, which can often result in the entanglement of birds and sea mammals.

The industry has also grown more frustrated at the number of gillnets which are dumped into the sea after use, which are then often dragged up by local vessels.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) and Shetland Greens, who have often had a difficult relationship, have now written in forceful terms to rural affairs and islands secretary Mairi Gougeon calling for a ban on the practice.

SFA executive officer Sheila Keith said: “The difficulties in the intensive gillnetting in the waters around Shetland stem from the fact that it is a mixed fishery, giving these vessels no way of being selective in the species they catch.

“It is time to regulate these destructive fishing practices, failures around the disposal of waste and discarding of fishing gear, before the damage becomes irreversible.”

Councillor Alex Armitage, a member of the Shetland Greens, said the Scottish government “cannot allow intensive gillnetting to continue” in local waters.

“Not only is it decimating our marine environment but gillnet crews are trashing our seas with their used nets and domestic rubbish.

“Greens support responsible, sustainable fishing and I’m happy to be working with the Shetland Fishermen’s Association and all fishers who want to sustain our marine economy and ecology for the future.”


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