Councillors to back fishermen
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.