Fishers' Worry Over Torridon Scheme Expansion Plan –

Fishers’ Worry Over Torridon Scheme Expansion Plan Fish Farming Today Published:  09 February, 2003

AN award-winning West Coast shellfishery conservation scheme in Loch Torridon has raised concern among trawl fishermen that it could push them out of traditional fishing grounds, if, as proposed, it is extended as far as Loch Hourn.

Following a meeting of creel fishermen in Kyle, the Highlands and Islands Fishermen’s Association is now considering a proposal to extend the Loch Torridon scheme to Loch Hourn. Under the Torridon scheme, the fishermen have voluntarily limited the number of creels that can be set and have put special panels into the creels to allow under-sized prawns to escape. This is now felt to require legal backing.

A report by Peter Davidson, secretary of HIFA, says the proposal to extend the conservation zone has arisen because the trawler section does not appear to be making any proposals of its own to introduce conservation measures. The report states, “Gear conflict is not an issue here, but due to a lack of any viable conservation methods implemented, or proposed, by the trawl sector, a mixed conservation-oriented fishery within the area is not possible. It was also pointed out that the income yield per catch unit on nephrops from static gear, compared to mobile gear, is vastly superior with a high percentage of that income being retained in the Highland economy.”

But Mallaig and North-west Fishermen’s Association secretary Hugh Allen said comments they been getting back are opposed to the idea.”The boats that would be excluded are all small boats and their alternatives are limited…”