Fishermen’s association to hold consultation drop-in for HPMA fight

Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) is looking to reel in as much feedback as they can to tackle restrictions which could devastate the seafood industry. 

The SFA and staff from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation will be on hand at drop-in sessions Tuesday evening and through Wednesday about controversial highly protected marine areas (HPMAs).

Held in the SFA’s offices at Mair’s Quay in Lerwick, Tuesday’s session will last from 5-7pm while Wednesday’s session is 9am-5pm.

SFA executive director Daniel Lawson said the plans would impact on the whole community and the consultation was “needlessly complex”, which is why they are offering support.

Mr Lawson said: “Plans for HPMAs lack any scientific justification and seem to be based purely on political assumptions.

“Responding online to the public consultation is needlessly complex and impenetrable – almost as if it has been designed that way – and so we want to help folk find their way through it and make their feelings known, to encourage a strong and forthright response from our islands.”

The consultation process was extended by a month to allow more opinions to be heard over HPMAs.

The Scottish government plans to designate 10 per cent of Scottish waters as HPMAs to reinvigorate the seabed and the marine environment, but these plans have been criticised by the fishing industry. 

Fishermen could be restricted from doing their jobs in areas of the sea where they already feel threatened by a spatial squeeze with a growing renewables sector and an already established oil and gas sector. 


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