Fishermen to play leading role in managing Moray Firth –

Fishermen to play leading role in managing Moray Firth Published:  12 March, 2007

George MacRae

FISHERMEN from around the Moray Firth gathered in Banff recently to discuss plans for their involvement in a new group to manage fisheries around the Firth.

The Scottish Executive is currently setting up 12 Inshore Fisheries Groups (IFGs) around Scotland, which will manage fisheries in inshore waters. The aim of the groups is to give local fishermen more power to plan for and manage local fisheries – allowing them to help develop planning measures that suit local geographical conditions and needs.

The seminar, which was attended by a wide range of fisheries groups and other stakeholders as well as representatives from the Scottish Executive, was organised by the Moray Firth Fisheries Action Group, a neutral forum set up by the Moray Firth Partnership to discuss a range of issues affecting fishing in the Firth, from seals to fisheries stocks and windfarms.

Mike Comerford of the Moray Firth Partnership, said: “Fishermen have a huge wealth of knowledge and expertise about their own local fisheries. It is crucial for the future of fisheries that this valuable resource is tapped into and used to create well managed, sustainable and profitable fisheries for coastal communities.”

Local fishermen and fisheries groups welcomed the prospect of becoming more involved in the management of inshore fisheries in the area.

Roddy McColl, Secretary of the Fishermen’s Association Ltd, said: “We are delighted that the Moray Firth Fisheries Action Group has been involved at the very beginning of a new Inshore Fisheries Group for the Moray Firth. The knowledge of local fishermen will be invaluable in assessing the current level of fisheries stock in the Firth and ensuring the future of MF Fisheries and communities.”

George MacRae, Secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association Ltd (SWFPA), added: “The SWFPA are enthusiastic about the development of inshore fishery groups around Scotland which offers the opportunity for local issues to be resolved by those most affected.” is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.