A proposal for a ‘Demonstration and Research’ Marine Protected Area around Fair Isle has won the support of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF).

The proposal, which has been put forward by the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI), aims to demonstrate, through research and dissemination, the effectiveness of a community-led partnership approach in achieving sustainable measures to help ensure that the marine environment is in a condition that benefits all stakeholders.

In its response to a consultation on the proposal, the SFF said that meaningful engagement by FIMETI with stakeholders had played a key role in its decision to support the initiative.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF said: “We have followed with interest the ongoing development of the Fair Isle proposal.

“In doing so we recognise the vast amount of effort that has precluded this proposal, led by the Fair Isle Community in partnership with Fair Isle Bird Observatory and the National Trust for Scotland,” he said.

“The appointment of a project officer in 2014 helped focus these aims and through more meaningful engagement with fishing stakeholders, identified a governance structure that ensures the fishing industry will be fully engaged throughout the lifetime of the demonstration and research proposal.

“The SFF is strongly of the view that this bottom-up approach should be used as a future template to be followed by others wishing to develop further demonstration and research proposals.

“We look forward to the opportunity to establish relevant research activities which feed into the Fair Isle demonstration and research MPA objectives.”