Coun­cil­lors to back fish­er­men

The Oban Times - - News -

AR­GYLL and Bute Coun­cil has agreed to sup­port the fish­ing in­dus­try as it strug­gles to cope with a raft of mea­sures re­strict­ing its ac­tiv­ity.

Even as de­mand grows for pre­mium Scot­tish shell­fish, West Coast fish­er­men are hav­ing to deal with a wide range of pro­pos­als aimed at conserving shell­fish and fin­fish stocks – moves they claim could dec­i­mate their in­dus­try, the sup­ply trades and en­tire com­mu­ni­ties that de­pend upon fish­ing.

By the end of the year, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment plans to in­tro­duce a num­ber of Marine Pro­tec­tion Ar­eas and marine Spe­cial Ar­eas of Con­ser­va­tion at the same time as con­ser­va­tion char­ity SIFT (Sus­tain­able In­shore Fish­eries Trust) is press­ing for a reg­u­lat­ing or­der af­fect­ing the Firth of Clyde.

Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil last week agreed to sup­port the fish­ing in­dus­try’s case in a for­mal mo­tion that be­gan: ‘The im­ple­men­ta­tion of th­ese pro­pos­als will have a dis­pro­por­tion­ate im­pact on Ar­gyll and Bute and have the po­ten­tial to cause fur­ther de­pop­u­la­tion to al­ready-frag­ile com­mu­ni­ties.’

The coun­cil also ex­pressed con­cern that re­stric­tions in one area would force boats to move else­where, lead­ing to ad­verse en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts in that area.

Recog­nis­ing the ef­forts al­ready made by Clyde fish­er­men to en­hance the sus­tain­abil­ity of fish­ing grounds, coun­cil­lors also urged the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to pro­vide ur­gent fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance and sup­port to fish­ing busi­nesses, the lo­cal sup­ply chain and their fam­i­lies, as well as the wider com­mu­ni­ties af­fected – should the mea­sures go ahead as planned.

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