Former rural affairs minister rips up HPMA document

The highly protected marine area (HPMA) proposals are a notice of execution rather than a consultation document, said the former SNP rural affairs minister.

Fergus Ewing, MSP for Inverness and Nairn, slammed the Scottish government’s proposal at a debate led by Beatrice Wishart on Tuesday afternoon. 

He claimed that designating 10 per cent of the Scottish waters and restricting the fishermen, more than they are already, would “haunt” the government.

At the end of his speech in parliament Mr Ewing ripped up the proposal, suggesting it is just on of the things that should be done with it.

Mr Ewing asked why the government “did not sit down” with fishing industry leaders before pressing ahead with the consultation. 

He continued: “After all, no one is going to have more interest than fishermen in preserving stocks for the future, for their family coming on. No one knows more about it than they do.

“You can’t convince me that an academic working at a university behind a typewriter knows more than the fishermen working the sea.”

Mr Ewing spoke about how his mother, Winnie, had won the Moray seat in 1974 from a Conservative party which the fishing community “had lost confidence in”.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart also highlighted that fishermen are best placed to know about fishing stocks.

MS Wishart said: “It’s time to stop implying fishermen don’t care about our seas. The fishing sector rely on sustainable catches and benefit from healthy seas. Who better understands that our seas are fragile than our fishermen, who want to ensure there’s a future for the next generation?”

Green MSP Ariane Burgess backed the government policy.

She said people in coastal communities should stand up and “demand change”, adding: “Island communities are realising that it is collapsing fish stocks that threatens coastal economies, not increased protection. And losing the flood defences provided by healthy coastal habitats would cost billions.”


Add Your Comment
  • Ali Inkster

    • May 4th, 2023 0:03

    Less than 10% of msp ‘s even bothered to turn up.
    Time for Shetland to wake up and scrape yun excrement aff.


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