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Hebrides News


There are growing signs of a renewed confidence in the local fishing industry with a high demand for fishing boats after years in the doldrums.


But it means a comhairle finance initiative which helps locals to purchase vessels and gear is currently over-committed.


Councillors voted to inject £141,000 of new funding into the scheme to continue a surge of investment into the sector.


A report by Domhnall MacDonald, development manager at the council, highlighted: “Fishing is once again seen as a viable career option for young people with eleven out of fourteen applicants this year being under 40.”


The loan scheme has been “especially beneficial to the fisheries sector and the fragile communities that rely heavily on it.


“It is providing significant economic impact from the income generated and spent locally, the jobs created, local processing and from exports to foreign markets.”


Some £837,500 has been lent to skippers over the past five years which helps them raise more finance to buy their fishing vessel.


About 42 jobs have been created and a further 27 posts safeguarded as result.


Annually, the contribution to the local economy from these investments is estimated at £5 million.  


The figure excludes a number of projects currently being worked-up.


Donald Crichton, chairman of the comhairle’s sustainable development committee, said the loan scheme has been “very successful” in supporting the local fishing fleet to increase and invest in larger, newer and more modern fishing vessels.


“As well as supporting the sustainability of the fishing industry, the (scheme) is supporting young people to live and work in the most fragile areas of the islands - helping to stem the out migration of young people to the mainland and the resulting demographic imbalance.”


Signs of confidence in local fishing industry

11 December 2017