Commenting on this afternoon’s meeting between the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) and its constituent associations with Richard Lochhead, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, in Glasgow (6 July) on the recently announced management measures for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which threatens the viability of inshore fisheries on the West coast, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF said:

“We outlined to the Minister in the strongest possible terms the devastating impact these measures will have on fragile coastal communities on the West coast. The Scottish fishing industry fully supports the concept of Marine Protected Areas, provided their designation and management is done in an evidence based manner, looking soberly at the overall management objectives of effective marine conservation and supporting a sustainable fishing industry. Conservation measures need to be right, not gratuitously damaging in pursuit of, in the Minister’s words, “ambition”.

“Unfortunately, the minister still seemed keen to pander to lightweight, populist lobbying and failed to understand the impact these recently announced measures will have on several of our small coastal communities, where the loss of even one or two boats could affect local schools and other pillars of village life. These measures are a total over-reach of the objectives set out in the agreed MPA process and we will continue our fight to oppose them in the strongest possible manner. We hope the Minister will reflect carefully on the unnecessary loss of trust that his actions have caused and act accordingly.”