Crisis talks over economic disaster facing fishing industry 27/7/12
Urgent talks are taking place today in a bid to save the Western Isles fishing industry
from economic disaster.
The Minch was due to be closed to local prawn trawlers after a blitz by east coast
An alternative move to ban many in the local fleet from fishing half the time is
almost as bad say affected fishermen because it will badly hit fishermens’ livelihoods
and force boats to tie up for long spells.
In addition, it will cut the amount of prawns supplied to island factories in Barra
and Goat Island, Stornoway. Nearly 100 staff are employed between Barratlantic and
Due to poor catches in the North Sea, large vessels from the east coast worked the
Minch grounds for the past three months causing the crisis by swallowing up the time-at-seas
limits. These boast did the same in the Moray Firth and have now moved on to the
Firth of Forth where they are trawling close to shore.
In their wake, island fishermen have to suffer the consequences of curbed fishing
over this coming winter in an attempt to avoid closing the Minch totally.
In its response the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association (WIFA) are demanding genuine
concessions from the Scottish Government to allow the west coast fleet to continue
fishing over the winter.
Though this would breach the normal fishery allowances fishermen say this could be
paid back by taking in new rules against very large boats and those which don’t normally
fish the area.
WIFA secretary Duncan Macinnes Secretary Duncan Macinnes has been in prolonged telephone
talks with Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead over the crisis.
The WIFA has told the government: "It would be morally wrong to impose severe restrictions
on vessels that have not altered their fishing pattern to satisfy a Cod Recovery
Plan that is fundamentally flawed and unless challenged will destroy traditional
coastal fishing communities."