A STRONG VOICE FOR FISHING COMMUNITIES Published: 22 September, 2008
Fishermen across Scotland are to play a central role in the improved management of inshore fisheries, helping to ensure a vibrant, prosperous and sustainable future for themselves and the communities they support.
Pilot Inshore Fisheries Groups (IFGs) are being established in the Outer Hebrides, the Clyde and the South East, to be followed closely by three others in Moray Firth, the North West and Mull and the Small Isles. Over the course of the next 18 months or so the intention is to introduce six further IFGs, covering the whole coast.
IFGs have commercial fishing interests at their heart. Fishermen’s representatives will make up the IFGs’ executive committees and, supported by expert advice and in liaison with all relevant interests, will be responsible for producing fisheries management plans for their areas.
Speaking in Mallaig, where he met with local fishermen, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment Richard Lochhead said: ‘With one of the largest coastlines in Europe and extensive inshore fishing grounds, the importance of fishing to our coastal communities cannot be underestimated.
‘It is only right that those who depend on the sea and its fish for their livelihoods have a proper place in the management of those fisheries.
‘Inshore Fisheries Groups (IFGs) will harness fishermen’s expertise, allow them to drive fisheries management planning in the area and build for the commercial sector a strong voice in wider marine policy development.
‘The IFG concept has been well supported so far and we look to fishermen and all those who seek a sustainable, economically viable future for their communities to support the launch of the IFGs and to make their operation a success.’