THREE-YEAR FISHING FUEL PLAN TAKES STEP FORWARD – Fishupdate.com

THREE-YEAR FISHING FUEL PLAN TAKES STEP FORWARD Published:  11 August, 2008

The outline of a three-year plan to help deliver a sustainable and profitable Scottish fishing industry that has adapted to high fuel costs has been published today.

The plan was agreed by Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead and the industry’s Fuel Task Force when they met in Aberdeen today.

The Scottish Government announced that, as a first step, resources totalling almost £29 million will be made available to implement the three-year plan. This includes focusing £26 million from the European Fisheries Fund on measures to help the fishing industry adapt to rising fuel prices.

The plan will:

· Put in place a range of innovative fuel efficiency measures to cut fishing boats’ fuel consumption and running costs

· Improve the marketing of Scottish seafood to boost its brand, reputation and value

· Drive forward other efficiencies by reducing some non-fuel costs, such as e-log books, and tackling the issue of discards.

Scottish Ministers reiterated their determination to continue to press the UK Government and European Union for additional aid.

Mr Lochhead said:

“The Scottish Government is determined to help the fishing industry adapt to high fuel costs and although we can’t control the price of fuel, we will do what we can to help in other ways.

“The fishing industry has been particularly hard hit with the crippling increase in fuel prices. Fuel costs count for as much as half the earnings of boats and cannot be passed on.

“Through the Fuel Task Force we have worked closely with the industry to pull together the outline of a three-year plan of action that will help the fishing industry in Scotland adapt to cope with rising fuel costs.

“The Scottish Government has earmarked almost £29 million – a combination of Scottish and European funds – to support this plan of action and deliver change across the fleet and the onshore sectors. Money will start to become accessible within the next few weeks.

“Despite limited resources, we are willing to do all we can to make these go as far as possible to help our fishermen and the industries and communities they support. I am disappointed at the continuing lack of financial support from the UK Government and will continue to press for this.

“We cannot alone address the wider economic impact of rising fuel prices. That responsibility rests with Ministers in London and we are continuing to press hard for action to restrain energy costs and reflate the economy. But where we can we will act.

“The measures I have outlined today set out the steps which need to be taken over the next three years to ensure the fishing sector is economically and environmentally sustainable.

“I firmly believe that the Scottish fishing industry has a vibrant future as a key part of our thriving coastal communities.”

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