HPMAs to be put on hold

Plans to stop fishing in 10 per cent of Scottish waters have been put on hold by the government, it was confirmed in Holyrood today (Thursday).

Net zero secretary Mairi McAllan told the chamber that the plans for controversial highly protected marine areas (HPMAs) “would not be progressed”.

However she said the government, along with the Scottish Greens, were “still committed” to preserving and improving the environment. 

Ms McAllan added: “I will outline more on our next steps after the summer recess, but I hope that it is clear that I am determined to protect our oceans in a way that is fair, and to find a way forward that ensures our seas remain a source of prosperity for the nation, especially in our remote, coastal and island communities.”

A full review of the consultation period will be published when the parliament reconvenes after its summer break.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart hailed community power as the reason behind the government’s backtracking.

Ms Wishart said: “This is testament to the power and voice of rural and remote communities who were united in their opposition.

“They were incensed by the way the SNP and Greens were determined to impose rigid and damaging policies and failed to listen from the outset.”

The Shetland MSP said there would have been a collective sigh of relief from those invested in the fishing industry and it was clear from the start the government’s HPMA proposals was used to “appease” the Scottish Green party as part of the Bute House Agreement.

She added: “Communities will need assurances that future policy doesn’t make the same mistakes, is led by scientific evidence, meaningful engagement and a proper understanding of all the factors that go into making our communities and fisheries sustainable.”

Chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Elspeth McDonald said the government is finally listening to the fishing community’s fears and ministers should try to reassure them.

Ms McDonald said: “The seafood sector has set out a clear pathway on how we can work with government to strike the right balance between nature conservation and sustainable use, and the test for government now is to deliver upon that.”

The chief executive of Salmon Scotland said this comes as a “massive relief” for farmers who would have been affected by the proposals.

Tavish Scott to all the MSPs who had spoken out against the highly controversial plan.

Mr Scott added: “We commit to working with the Scottish Government to develop workable proposals that safeguard both livelihoods and the marine environment on which they rely.”


Add Your Comment
  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • June 29th, 2023 14:17

    Can the SNP get anything right when it comes to the environment? They are clearly part of the Green Hogwash Brigade, with little or no science behind their reasoning. A big (little-minded) Green Party tail is wagging for this demented dog of a political party.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.