THE Scottish Government’s fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead has warned the industry system needs “radical change”.
Mr Lochhead said that the biggest challenge was a “rigid system imposed by the EU” after meeting with nine skippers. The minister said that Scottish fishermen needed more flexibility.
The skippers from the east and west coasts, including Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Campbeltown and Ullapool, met Mr Lochhead at Holyrood to discuss the pressures and demands of working in the industry.
Mr Lochhead said: “I am in full agreement that the present system needs to change, which is why I’m pressing for radical changes to the Common Fisheries Policy. Regionalisation would mean decisions that affect our fishermen - such as these skippers - can be taken closer to home, tailored to their needs while better protecting the stocks.
“I was heartened to hear that the skippers felt we must do more to promote Scottish sea fisheries as an outstanding seafood product. I’m committed to working closer with the industry to get that message across - in the same way that Scotch Beef and Scotch Whisky are perceived around the world.
“What was also made clear is that the Scottish Government can do more to communicate directly with the grassroots of the industry and ensure our messaging is clear and consistent. I’ve asked my officials to take this feedback on board.”
Over the winter dialogue between senior Marine Scotland staff and the fishing industry is being hosted at 18 ‘quayside conversations’ events taking place around the country.
“This approach is enabling direct contact between senior Marine Scotland staff and the fishing industry. Eighteen events are planned in ports around the country and I look forward to attending a number of quayside conversations in the New Year.”