A question and answer session with Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment Richard Lochhead on the implications of the landing obligation for Scottish skippers will be held at the forthcoming Skipper Expo Int. Aberdeen 2015.
Hosted by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), the open-floor discussion session will enable skippers to hear at first-hand how the new management regime for the landing obligation (discard ban) is developing and the main issues of concern that remain.
The landing obligation has already been introduced for Scotland’s mackerel and herring fishers and is due to be phased-in for the demersal fleet from 1 January 2016.
Mr Lochhead said: “I look forward to discussing the future of the fishing industry and current issues such as the land obligation at the Fishing Expo in Aberdeen at the end of May. This is one of the key challenges facing the fishing industry this year and the Scottish Government has been clear this needs to be implemented in a way which does not damage the viability of the fleet and is workable for our fishermen. If we get it right, this measure will enable us to overcome the ecological madness of dumping perfectly good fish dead back into the sea, to the benefit of both fishers and consumers.”
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, said: “We are delighted that the Minister has agreed to take part in this question and answer session as it will aid skippers in developing their plans for managing their operations under the new regime. The introduction of the landing obligation is one of the biggest sea-changes the industry has ever experienced and it is essential that it is managed in a way that does not jeopardise the economic viability of the fleet.”
The question and answer session with the Minister will take place on the morning of the first day of the expo on 29 May.
The Skipper Expo Int. Aberdeen 2015 will be held in the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre in Scotland on 29 and 30 May. More information on the event and to pre-register at www.maramedia.ie or contact Sharon Boyle on 00353 86 840 1250.