THE fishing industry in Shetland is to step up efforts to ensure its voice is heard in the EU by joining a major campaigning association that represents more than 80,000 fishermen.
Europêche is at the forefront of the fight back against the anti-fishing propaganda war being waged by many environmental NGOs.
Active in pursuing the interests of 45,000 vessels from nine European countries, Europêche works alongside policy makers to highlight the need for an economically and socially sustainable sector, as well as a healthy and diverse marine environment.
Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) has become its 13th member association.
Kathryn Stack (pictured), managing director of Europêche, said: ‘We are very pleased to welcome Shetland Fishermen’s Association into Europêche.
‘The association represents an important portion of the UK fleet and need a strong voice in Brussels.
‘It is important that we have a wider spectrum of views and contributions from all types of fisheries in the EU and we are very keen to start working with the association and listening to Shetland’s fisheries concerns to ensure the rules they have to conform to are workable and realistic.’
Simon Collins, executive officer of the SFA, said: ‘It has long been a source of frustration among fishermen that their very obvious expertise is frequently ignored when it comes to policy making.
‘But the fiasco of the discard ban, where under pressure from green NGOs the EU introduced legislation obliging fishermen to land everything they catch, and then turned to fishermen to make it work when they realised they couldn’t, has turned the tide.
‘Increasingly, it is being recognised that fishermen have a significant role to play in the policy making process.
‘The SFA has chosen to join Europêche because it is at the heart of the drive to restore the rightful place of fishermen in helping to build a future for the industry while preserving the environment.
‘Kathryn and her team have a wealth of experience, knowledge and contacts that will help us to press Shetland’s case to maximum effect in the corridors of power in Brussels and Strasbourg.’