HPMA backdoor risks losing the fleet, says skipper

A skipper has renewed warning calls over the implementation of highly protected marine areas (HPMAs).

Mark Anderson, skipper of the Prolific, says more scientific research is required before swingeing restrictions rule where fishermen can work. 

It comes amid fears HPMAs could be re-introduced under a new name by the Scottish government.

Mr Anderson said it was a “fantasy” to believe that designated areas would become a “Mecca for fish” if measures were implemented.

“It’s based on an ideal, it’s not based on science,” he said.

“Imagine you closed a whole heap of places around Shetland for 20 years and half the fleet disappeared; but in that time you found that you had not changed anything in fish density.”

It would be a “great pity” for people to lose their livelihoods because of ill-informed government action.

A recent poll from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation found that nine in 10 people supported the protection of fishing fleets and called for the government to do more to protect the sector.


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