New bid to break fish quota deadlock
Fresh talks are to be held over quota rules that leave Galloway inshore fishermen high and dry.
Local boats under 10 metres can’t catch fin fish because they have no quota from Marine Scotland, the News revealed in March.
Yet English, Irish and Manx boats all have permission from their fisheries organisations to cast nets legally in the Irish Sea.
The current rules mean Galloway fishermen can only catch whelks, lobsters and crabs in local waters.
Cumbrian boats, meanwhile, can haul in whitefish and prawns off Kirkcudbright and elsewhere.
The situation has infuriated the Galloway Static Gear Fishermen’s Association, which has demanded action.
Now it has emerged that Marine Scotland has agreed to meet with GSGFA representatives in a bid to break the deadlock.
The date and place for crunch talks, which are being brokered by South of Scotland MSP Emma Harper, have yet to be fixed.
Ms Harper suggested assigning quota for certain species over a trial period to Galloway boats as one possible solution.
She said: “The GSGFA are seeking access to a variable quota. That would mean they could fish in their own waters.
“They don’t want to stop the English boats – they simply want to be able to have a fair share of the fishing effort.
“They are just asking for enough quota for skate, plaice, sole, bass, mullet and prawns to maintain their livelihoods.”
She added: “Local fishermen would like to be able to fish all year round. They would be delighted to supply a variety of different fish to restaurants and food businesses in the south-west.”
GSGFA secretary Shaun McGuire welcomed the prospect of talks and indicated Atlantic Quay in Glasgow as a possible venue.
He said: “It is a step in the right direction in that they are prepared to have a discussion about quota.
“We are hopeful that something positive will come out of it.”
Broker Emma Harper MSP