New deal re­solves scal­lop fish­ing row

Manx Gov­ern­ment re­vises pol­icy

The Galloway News - - INTIMATION­S - Stephen Nor­ris

Scal­lop fish­er­men and pro­ces­sors in Kirkcud­bright have won their fight to have a con­tro­ver­sial fish­ing re­stric­tion lifted.

Their cam­paign forced the Manx gov­ern­ment to bring in new rules on Mon­day.

Now Gal­loway boats can con­tinue to fish as be­fore – as long as they abide by strict catch lim­its.

The re­vised pol­icy means any skip­pers caught over-fish­ing king scal­lops could have their li­cences to work in Manx wa­ters can­celled.

It re­places a puni­tive Jan­uary 15 reg­u­la­tion forc­ing ves­sels to re­port daily to a Manx port for catch in­spec­tions.

It was im­posed to com­bat al­leged un­der-re­port­ing of catches.

Kirk cud bright fish­ing lead­ers branded the rul­ing “dis­crim­i­na­tory” be­cause it ex­empted Manx skip­pers while severely cut­ting the Scot­tish boats’ fish­ing time.

They warned the en­tire lo­cal scal­lop in­dus­try on land and sea was at risk, along with hun­dreds of fish­ing and pro­cess­ing jobs.

Now they are breath­ing a huge sigh of re­lief af­ter the Manx change of heart.

West Coast Sea Prod­ucts boss John King told the News: “This gives us re­lief and peace of mind in Kirkcud­bright. It was re­ally im­por­tant that this was over­turned. Now we can get back to our nor­mal work­ing prac­tices.

“They may be Manx seas and Manx scal­lops but we will treat them as part of our tra­di­tional fish­ing grounds, just as we have al­ways done.

“It’s the lo­cal fish­ery for south­west Scot­land and Scot­tish fish­er­men have the same rights to fish Manx wa­ters, just as the Manx have to fish in Scot­tish and UK wa­ters.”

He added: “We are grate­ful to Marine Scot­land and Scot­tish Fish­eries Min­is­ter Fer­gus Ewing for their ef­forts and sup­port, and for put­ting a stop to this ridicu­lous mea­sure.

“We have a work­able so­lu­tion and it’s a level play­ing field now.”

Lo­cal politi­cians, Scot­tish min­is­ters and First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon backed the cam­paign to scrap the “re­port to port” reg­u­la­tion.

Dum­fries and Gal­loway Coun­cil deputy leader Rob David­son said: “The way the Isle of Man in­tro­duced the orig­i­nal scheme was very un­for­tu­nate. How­ever, the fact they have changed their minds is very wel­come.

“It’s a good out­come but we will be keep­ing a close eye on how this is go­ing to be im­ple­mented.”

Dee and Glenkens coun­cil­lor Dougie Camp­bell said: “Thanks to ev­ery­one for their sup­port dur­ing this cam­paign which has saved many lo­cal jobs. Most of all though a great deal of praise must go to Steven Gir­gan, the skip­per of Su­san Bird who rep­re­sented his fel­low fish­er­men and made all this hap­pen.”

Scot­tish Fish­eries Sec­re­tary Fer­gus Ewing said: “We wel­come th­ese new ar­range­ments which will make it pos­si­ble for our fish­er­men to con­tinue to fish sus­tain­ably in Manx wa­ters.”

Ge­of­frey Boot, Manx Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Agri­cul­ture, said: “We hope own­ers and skip­pers will take their obli­ga­tion to ac­cu­rately record their catch more se­ri­ously if they know cheat­ing won’t be tol­er­ated and they could lose ac­cess to Manx wa­ters.”

Scot­tish Labour’s ru­ral econ­omy spokesman Colin Smyth added: “The coun­cil high­lighted lo­cal con­cerns to the the Isle of Man Gov­ern­ment and if the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment had also acted quickly then per­haps th­ese two weeks of un­cer­tainty would not have hap­pened.”

Pleased MSP Fer­gus Ewing

Wel­come news Coun­cil­lor Dougie Camp­bel with fish­er­man Steven Gir­gan at Kirkcud­bright har­bour yes­ter­day

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