Gill net protest first of series of events

Protestors took to Market Cross on this morning (Saturday) to highlight the dangers of gill netting to the marine environment around Shetland. 

A low key event was organised by local activists who are appalled that fishermen would dump gill nets and other waste which pollute the waters. 

The protest is the first of a series which is under planning and the main protest is planned for 1st October.

Four-page leaflets were handed out to passers by as activists stood together outside the Shetland Island Tourism office on Commercial Street with placards and a gill net.

Organiser Arlene Robertson said that they encountered one fishing vessel returning to shore with their waste and it was enough to fill “four skips”. 

She said: “Gill netting is a technique of fishing which is used by soaking the nets in the water. 

“What has happened here though, for about 25 years, these boats are just discarding the nets and they’re not bringing ashore their rubbish.

“We rattled our sabres, and got momentum, when we actually saw a boat bring back their rubbish.”

Green councillor Alex Armitage made an appearance to show his support and protest alongside them. 

The councillor believes this is a significant event to see people from fishing backgrounds take part in the event. 

He said: “We see this as part of a rolling series of events. 

“We really want to ramp up the pressure on the Scottish government so this isn’t just a single protest, we have lots more coming down the line.

“We also have pictures of what these things can do to wildlife, but there is more than that also. Non-target species get stuck in them such as shellfish.

“We have rightly seen an outpouring of anger about the Norwegians’ treatment of Freya the walrus, what is less well known is these nets are being used and catching marine mammals.”


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