Visit to London by Scots fishing vessel will highlight catching sector’s commitment to sustainability –

Visit to London by Scots fishing vessel will highlight catching sector’s commitment to sustainability Published:  03 June, 2011

A Scottish fishing vessel that specialises in catching herring and mackerel will set sail from Peterhead on Sunday 5 June on a six-day visit to London to raise awareness of the work of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen and highlight the importance of the fishing industry to the UK.

The 69m Peterhead vessel Lunar Bow will sail up the River Thames on 6 June and sail through London’s famous Tower Bridge at 5pm before tying-up alongside historic HMS Belfast in support of Seafarer’s Awareness Week, an annual series of events and activities focusing on the importance of the maritime sector in keeping the UK supplied with fuel, food and goods.

There are historic links between HMS Belfast and Lunar Bow (the eighth vessel of the same name). The first Lunar Bow, a traditional steam drifter, had previously served as a tender for the historic cruiser.

During the visit, school children will have the opportunity to tour the Lunar Bow and see at first hand the important work of the fishing industry. Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon and Mayor of London Boris Johnson are also expected to tour the vessel in addition to members of the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries.

A special event onboard the vessel for retailers will showcase the very best of Scottish seafood, and on another day there will be a presentation and discussion session involving representatives from environmental NGOs. There will also be an afternoon reception for dignitaries and MPs at the House of Commons.

Travelling onboard the Lunar Bow will be Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, who will update MPs, officials and other marine stakeholders on the sustainable operations of the Scottish mackerel and herring sector.

“Part of the focus of the visit will be to brief politicians, NGOs and other interests on the latest situation in the ongoing mackerel quota dispute with Iceland and the Faroes,” said Mr Gatt.

“We will be making it very clear that the behaviour of these two countries in massively increasing their mackerel quotas is totally unacceptable and puts the health of this internationally important stock at risk. We will also be asking for their support to put all possible pressure on Iceland and the Faroes to seek a sensible resolution.

“All sectors of the Scottish fishing industry are committed to sustainable harvesting – it is a tragedy that Iceland and the Faroes don’t share that commitment and seem totally disinterested in environmental responsibility.”