MSP highlights importance of Scotlands inshore fisheries Published: 29 April, 2014
JAMIE McGrigor, Highlands & Islands MSP and the Scottish Conservative Fisheries Spokesman, today emphasised the importance to his region, and the wider Scottish economy, of Scotlands inshore fisheries.
McGrigor was speaking in a debate on inshore fisheries in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, which covered a range of related topics including the development of inshore fisheries management groups.
Speaking today, McGrigor said: The Scottish Conservative agree that the economic importance of inshore fishing is significant. This is often especially so in the remote rural and island communities of my region where the jobs it sustains are vital to fragile local economies.
The inshore fishing industry is also important to Scotlands overall economy with the value of the catch in 2012 estimated at almost £90 million.
We also acknowledge the concerns that have been expressed both today and on many previous occasions about the overfishing in previous decades of fin fish stocks in inshore waters.
All of us would agree that the sustainable harvesting of our inshore waters must be the way forward.
The creel fishermen whose boats currently make up 74% of Scotlands inshore commercial fishing fleet and harvest prawns, lobster, and crabs catch some of the highest quality shellfish products available.
Creel fishing methods are fuel efficient and discards virtually non-existent. Scallop fishing is also important and we hope that technological developments can increase the sustainability of this fishery as we go forward.
Scallops and shellfish are crucial to Scotlands reputation for high quality fresh food products and are used in the domestic restaurant and hotel trade as well as being exported throughout Europe and beyond.
Scottish langoustines are rightly famous for their superb quality and taste and are prized in Spain, Italy, France and Portugal and many other countries.
The motion refers to the three main components of the inshore fisheries strategy, one of which is improving the engagement with inshore fishermen and we would be strongly supportive of this.
We want to see scientists and government at all levels working in conjunction with our fishermen- who after all have the first-hand knowledge and practical experience of our fishing environments, often built up over generations.
I want to welcome the recent announcement of an increase of 1000 tonnes to 1300 tonnes in allocation of mackerel quota for inshore fishing in 2014.
As Duncan MacInnes, Secretary of the Western Isles Fishermens Association has said, this additional allocation for the under 10 metre sector of the fleet is especially welcome in the Western Isles, where there is a demand to develop a small, localised, selective fishery where there would be no discards and where premium prices can be paid to the fishermen.
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