New bid to break fish quota dead­lock

The Galloway News - - HIGH COURT CASE -

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

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