Fishers Hit At Lack Of Consultation –

Fishers Hit At Lack Of Consultation Fishing Monthly Published:  05 September, 2002

Fishing interests will be kept in mind says Finnie

THE fishing industry said today there has been no consultation with them over a Scottish Executive move to cut seal deaths.

A Conservation Order came into effect this week to protect the Scottish seal population ahead of the anticipated spread of Phocine Distemper Virus (PDV) to Scottish waters.

The Order extends controls on the killing, injuring or taking of common (or harbour) seals in the waters around Scotland, and grey seals in the Moray Firth.

Scottish fisheries minister Ross Finnie said:

“The last time Scotland was hit by this virus over 1300 animals died in our waters. Our scientific experts advise that the disease could have similar effects this time around. We therefore need to act now in order to protect these potentially vulnerable species.

“At the same time I am aware of legitimate concerns from fishing interests about seal damage. We will therefore keep these controls under review in light of the progress of the disease.”

But Alex Smith president of the Scottish Fishermen’ Federation said:

“There have been no consultations with us and we would have liked to see what the extent of this virus was before these measures were introduced.”