Council Urged To Use Oil Cash To Protect Fishers' Future –

Council Urged To Use Oil Cash To Protect Fishers’ Future Fishing Monthly Published:  14 January, 2003

SHETLAND Islands Council should invest part of its oil millions into buying up fishing licences and quota in a bid to protect the islands’ whitefish fleet, it was suggested yesterday.

Fishermen and fish processors met with councillors yesterday morning to discuss ways in which the local authority could help the industry.

The mood was sombre as people gathered in Lerwick Town Hall to discuss a variety of proposals drawn up by the SIC’s development department along with the North Atlantic Fisheries College, in Scalloway.

Chairman Gussie Angus described fishing as Shetland’s prime indigenous industry and said it was incumbent on the council to do all it could to help it survive the current crisis.

The main proposal on which there was general agreement was that the council invest some of its £75 million reserve fund on buying any fishing licences with their quota attached, should they come on the market after February 1 when the new EC days restrictions come into force.

There is concern that a mass departure from the Scottish fishing industry will lead to more quota and licences being sold overseas. .

The council already owns 50 per cent of the islands’ fishing quota through its commercial investment arm Shetland Leasing and Property Ltd (SLAP).

Mr Angus said he also hoped boats would be able to aggregate licences, so that owning two licences would allow one boat to fish for twice the 15 days a month limit being imposed by the EU.