Boost For Shetland Management Group –

Boost For Shetland Management Group Fish Farming Today Published:  04 September, 2002

SHELLFISH fishery and management in Shetland got huge boost today when Shetland Islands Council approved a £45,000 grant towards the running costs of the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO).

But the organisation has also been told by councillors that the grant payment was a one-off and that the SSMO board had to address its funding shortfall as a matter of urgency.

Chairman of the SSMO board, Dr Ian Napier welcomed the decision and added that the organisation was already addressing the problem of long-term funding.

SSMO was established in 1995 to apply for a Regulated Fishery Order, which would devolve the management shellfish fishery in Shetland’s inshore waters from Edinburgh to a local body.

This Regulating Order was granted in 1999 as the first one in Scotland and the SSMO opened an office in the Stewart Building in Lerwick with the help of a start-up grant from Shetland Islands Council.

But three and half years down the line, the SSMO finds it increasingly difficult to make ends meet as the only source of income the organisation has are licence fees – presently at £100 annually – the 133 SSMO members pay for the permission to fish in Shetland waters.

SSMO is faced with annual expenses of £60,000 for the current year, including £20,000 for legal costs and policy enforcement, but has only access to a secure income of around £15,000.