Cautious Welcome For Rates Move –

Cautious Welcome For Rates Move European Fish Trader Published:  11 March, 2003

THE Scottish Executive announcement today of new rates relief measures for harbours and other businesses experiencing hardship as a result of the reduction in whitefish catches has been given a cautious welcome by the North East Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership (NESFDP).

But its chair Councillor Raymond Bisset, who is also convener of Aberdeenshire Council, warned that the situation facing the North-east fishing industry was still very serious.

He said: “The announcement from the Scottish Executive is good news for us to some extent, in that onshore businesses involved in the industry will at least be able to combat the lean times to a degree by being able obtain some rates relief.

“That said, the amounts involved are relatively small when set against the potential business losses.

”We are still awaiting full details of the Executive’s proposals.”

The North East Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership brings together all the bodies in the North-east involved in fishing.

It has argued consistently at many meetings, both in the UK and in Europe, over many months, that the impact of the fishing cuts will be felt on the whole community, not just at sea.

The North-east is one of Europe’s most fishing-dependent areas. About 2,500 fishermen are based in the area and the ports of Peterhead, with 666 fishermen, and Fraserburgh, with 1,137, account for 74% of the North-east catching sector and 30% of the Scottish total.

The onshore processing sector, with about 4,900 full-time jobs, is a major employer.