Anger continues over scallop closure decision Published: 01 April, 2007
A PROCESSOR in North Uist will no longer receive a supply of shellfish and may have to lay off staff in the wake of a decison to approve the closure of the Firth of Lorn to scallop dredging,
This has been underlined by Mallaig and North-west Fishermens Association and by the Scallop Association following other warnings that conservationists will press for a progressive closure of sea areas around the Scottish coast, after moves to prevent the closure of the Firth to scallop dredging were defeated in the Scottish Parliament.
John Hermse, secretary of the Mallaig and North-west Fishermens Association and of the Scallop Association has said the decision was a travesty, and that the implications were extremely serious for fishermen.Around 20 boats, and some 40 fishermen will be affected by the ban, he said.
And the decision will open the floodgates for every single issue conservation group to press for the closure of other Special Areas of Conservation around the coast, he maintained.
At the weekend, he underlined his anger over the decision and said West Coast fishermen had failed to stop a closure on grounds in the Firth of Lorn, where they have fished for the past 55 years.
The motion to annul the eventually succesful Order was supported by SNP and Conservatives but was rejected by Labour, LibDem and an MSP from the Green Party and Mr Hermse repeated that the closure was imposed because of alleged damage to reefs in the Firth of Lorn although there was no evidence produced by the Scottish Executive to support the allegation.
Indeed, survey reports conducted on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage failed to find any damage.
The closure will impact on up to 20 boats who work the area, mainly in times of bad weather and the consequences of this action mean that a processor in North Uist will no longer receive supply of shellfish and may have to lay off staff.
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