Fife fleet's survival at stake –

Fife fleet’s survival at stake Published:  14 May, 2008

EAST Neuk of Fife fishermen might have no boats or industry left if something is not done soon over crippling fuel costs.

The warning was given today by the manager of the Fishermen’s Mutual Association in Pittenweem, William Hughes, in response to a five-point action plan announced this week by Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead.

He has announced that the Scottish Government will establish a task force to bring forward steps to help the industry and has also provided some immediate help to offset fuel costs.

The Fife fleet now primarily catches prawns, with smaller boats also catching lobsters.

A quarter is laid up for repairs and maintenance, while others are fishing for prawns in local waters at a time when catching is poor. Lobster boats are fishing normally in the Firth of Forth.

Mr Hughes said the cost of fuel is a major factor for the Fife fleet and that “everybody knows” countries such as France and Spain are being funded to help them through.

French boats said Mr Hughes, can have access to up to 30,000 Euros over three years under EU provisions and the same benefit should apply here.

He said that investigations are being made about the issue.

“It would help if this could be done and done quickly” Mr Hughes said.