Scottish Marine Regions consultation: a depressing waste of time

Marine Scotland’s document, Scottish Marine Regions: defining their boundaries, is in its consultation phase, with the closure date for responses on 18th February 2011.

Its core concern is to arrive at the most effective planning management for Scotland’s marine area, overseeing the balance between the use and protection of resources towards ensuring sustainable economic growth. The planning function must also identify and  exclude anything capable of ravaging the marine area and bequeathing nothing – or problems – to future generations.

Matters embraced by the marine plan to come – whatever way it is organised and implemented – include the development of marine based renewable energies; aquaculture; conservation; recreation and tourism; ports, harbours and shipping.

The consultation document centrally deals with regionalised management – what would the regions be and where would their boundaries be drawn?

The elephants in the room

There are two elephants in the room; both have mahouts external to Scotland and together they make any attempt at Scottish marine planning immediately redundant.

The elephants are:

  • The Crown Estate Commissioners
  • Fisheries

The planning situation proposed is effectively akin to sitting in a bunker below London during the blitz, considering the development of urban green spaces – while up above the bombers are reshaping the territory and the looters are clearing the valuables, as the talking in the bunker meanders endlessly on, deaf and blind to the real action.

The Crown Estate Commissioners

These public servants manage, in the public interest, the public asset that is the rights to the Scottish sea bed held in a portfolio of rights and assets historically called ‘The Crown Estate’.

With devolution, these self-important public servants scampered back to Westminster and made a single portfolio of the UK-wide rights and assets, removing the separate accounting that had applied to the rights and assets held in Scotland.

In offshore and marine renewable energies, the Crown Estate Commissioners have been independently issuing exclusivity agreements (exploration licences) to would-be developers for areas of the Scottish sea bed.

As things stand, they can carry on doing the same.

Already their activities have left the isle of Tiree facing being ringed by no fewer than three offshore wind farms and a wave farm. The first of these – the Argyll Array wind farm (aka the Tiree Array) – exclusively issued to Scottish Power Renewables, is for a wind farm over over four and a half times the size of the 30 square mile island and lying to its west and south west.

This monster starts at only 3 miles offshore and will cover 139 square miles of sea with up to 500 turbines.

This includes the sea area where the Skerryvore lighthouse, recognised as the world’s most beautiful, stands 48 metres high . It is due to be circled by tiers of turbines between 180 and 200 metres high – three to four times higher than itself.

The Mull of Kintyre faces being ringed to the south and south west by a wave farm and an ‘offshore’ (?) wind farm – the Kintyre Array – that also peppers the main sailing route up the west coast of Scotland. These are the Argyll waters celebrated as the best sailing grounds in Europe.

This wind farm is so close inshore that it dominates an area of outstanding natural beauty – a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), with two individually distinctive world class golf courses  and a beach fast becoming a specialist west coast surfing venue.

But the Crown Estate Commissioners have issued and profited from their exclusivity agreements.

At a public meeting last week, part of the consultation process, we asked what the relation of the Crown Estate Commissioners would be to the planning process for the Scottish marine area and the answer was a resigned shrug and a ‘Well, that’s the question’.

So what is the point of spending time and a great deal of money going through the hoops of creating and consulting on a plan to manage planning that has been and can be – at any time – subverted by an external body whose profits go straight out of Scotland and into the UK exchequer?

Answer: none. First get the horse between the traces and towing the cart.

Fisheries

The most immediate issue facing marine planning is anything and everything to do with fisheries. This carries issues that are live now – not later. They need decisions and action now – not later. And this is not going to happen.

There are matters of conservation of stocks, no take zones, quotas, damage to the sea bed inflicted by foreign trawlers – and this damage literally impacts upon the living and the non-living elements on the sea floor.

And the authority structures here reach to the outer concentric ring of the European Commission.

So again, the planning controls available to manage the Scottish marine area, regionalised or not, are centrally compromised from the outset. All they can effectively do is fiddle at the edges while the Crown Estate Commissioners flog the bed from under them and others finish off what is left of our fish stocks.

Regionalisation or not – and the matter of boundaries

All of that apart – and there’s little left when those controls are removed – and looking at the basic thesis of this document, is the potential regionalisation of the Scottish marine area a straightforward enough matter?

Answer: It is anything but straightforward.

The boundary issue involves both contiguity with neighbouring regions – the precise handover lines; and the outwards extent of the areas – to three, six or twelve miles.

Issues on regionalisation include, positively,  the immediate availability of depth of local knowledge versus, negatively, the equally available parochialism, with all the usual wheelings and dealings that discredit local government of all kinds.

Regionalised planning of marine areas also raises the prospect of another ‘postcode lottery’ variation on resource management.

The consultation document skews the issue from the outset. It does not put the case for centralisation; nor does it offer the option of centralisation with robust regional representation.

The decision to go for a regionalised structure has already, more than implicitly -  been taken. In his foreword to the document, Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affair and the Environment, closes by saying: ‘This consultation is about creating these Scottish Marine Regions’.

However, in the uncomfortable ambiguity that is a feature common to all such sham consultations, the document asks: ‘Do we wish to create Scottish Marine Regions?’

This goes on to offer a cursory Yes/No response to the question: ‘Do you believe that Scottish Marine Regions should be created for the purposes of regional marine planning?’

There are two immediate problems here.

  • As with the generality of the questions this document sets for consultation, the question is intellectually incompetent in the way it is framed and consequently ‘leads’ the responder.’Do you believe…’ discourages the development of informed opinion, reinforced by asking this question upfront very early in the document. Then ‘…for the purposes of regional marine planning’ begs the main question. This question might have been positioned at the end of the document and asked: ‘Have you come to the conclusion that Scottish Marine Regions should be created for the purposes of Scottish marine planning?’ Yes/No.
  • The document, while asking ‘Do we wish to create Scottish Marine Regions?’, offers no alternatives. Just saying ‘No’ leads nowhere. Any competent consultation document would visit or revisit the options in asking such a question. The operationally obvious option would be centralised marine planning with robust regional representation carrying a tightly framed strategic veto capability. This has several very substantial benefits. It avoids significant additional costs – by not swelling an already disproportionate public sector through duplicating more bureacracies across the regions. It educates, through universal access to region specific concerns, conditions and knowledge. It protects regional vulnerabilities and strengths through a veto system.

The multiplicity of ‘stakeholders’

A multiplicity of stakeholders, as here, means endless turf wars.

The document is clearly not concerned with whether or not we choose to have Scottish Marine Regions (because it assumes we will) but with how we designate those regions.

Its concerns therefore focus on the criteria for deciding what the regions should be and what marine areas they should cover.

Here comes the big problem.

There are any number of existing marine boundaries in Scottish waters, formed for a wide variety of reasons by an equally wide variety of statutory bodies, quangos and special interest groups.

The bulk of the document is taken up with describing these existing sets of boundaries.

When one looks at these, one feels the weight of random, overlapping, disconnected layers of bureaucracies sap the vital spirit.

It is clear that no one has ever attempted to rationalise anything in this field (as with so many) – nor has any intention of doing so.

Every special interest group has drawn its own boundaries. None of them match. It is a nightmare of Orwellian and Kafkaesque proportions.

And now Marine Scotland effectively proposes to add another.

NO.

This has to be the ultimate argument for centralised marine planning. We need one body – and the one with the authority – to deal with all the (God-help-us) ‘stakeholders’ – whose singular manifest ability is holding on to their stakes.

Imagine how paralysed a regional body would be, operating with little more than peripheral marine planning powers and trying to deal with each of the multifarious ‘stakeholders’ involved. No action could ever be taken. But there would be never-ending reports and consultations on matter arising from their failure to agree or trying to adjudicate between their conflicting concerns.  And think what it would all cost.

There are:

  • shipping forecast areas;
  • fisheries management areas – known as ICES, clusters of rectangles (a natural feature?) established by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea for recording fisheries statistics;
  • OSPAR regions – carved out for cooperative protection of the marine environment of the NE Atlantic by governments concerned with the coasts and catchment areas of western Europe;
  • geographical divisions based on the variable living and non-living seabed characteristics and identified by the Marine Nature Conservation Review;
  • UKMMAS regions – areas identified for periodic reviews of the status of the UK’s marine environment by the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS);
  • areas designated under the Water Framework Directive – these are largely based on the major  river basins, are concerned with issues of water purity and pollution and extend to 3 nautical miles. This then sees River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) operating on signficant coastal and marine areas;
  • IFGs – Inshore fisheries groups – industry -led, non-statutory groups developing management plans for specific inshore fishery areas. These give local fishing interests and relevant local operators a voice in the management of local fisheries and, beyond that in wider marine developments. These areas are designated on an axis of geography and species habitats.
  • LCPs and RPAs (are you still alive?) – these are, respectively, Local Coastal Partnerships and Regional Policy Areas – these are focused on encouraging debate and on developing regional policy statements. Basically they centre on the Firths, plus some necessary gap filling and a proposed extension to cover the small matters of the northern and west coast islands and mainland coastlines.

Attempts to reconcile stakeholders interests

As in the way of the public sector hydra, this has involved the creation of another body and the commissioning of more paperwork.

The Scottish Coastal Forum was formed in 1996 to foster national debate on coastal issues.

In 2009, Marine Scotland commissioned the Scottish Coastal Forum to establish external ‘stakeholders’ views on how Scottish Marine Region boundaries could be defined.

The Scottish Marine Regions: defining their boundaries document glosses over the issue of boundaries and focuses on the agreement between stakeholders that there should be 5-10 Scottish Marine Regions with 12 as an absolute maximum – without citing anything other than bland generalities to support this conclusion. They clearly got nowhere on the issue they were set to clarify – how the boundaries of such regions could be defined.

Landward and seaward boundaries

The Mean High Water Spring tide mark is laid down by the Marine (Scotland) Act as the landward boundary of any marine plan.

The issue under consultation is then whether the seaward boundary should go out to 3, 6 or 12 nautical miles.

Responses to this are effectively based on temperamental difference. There are those who prefer the ‘one bit at a time’ approach where others prefer to start as you mean to go on. We’re with the latter – set the right boundaries from the off and progressively work to police them effectively.

The weaknesses of the document

Its strengths are in the straightforward area of laying down basic, if selective, information. But it communicates no strategic vision. It offers no options. Its consultation process – as well as its framing of the questions to be answered – is unsound and ‘managed’.

There is nothing like enough time at the ‘breakout’ sessions in the public meetings  – and the purpose of these is singly to lead participants through ticking the boxes in the consultation questions. From our own objective witness, critical  responses were squeezed into very different renderings in order to get them as close as possible to ticking the clearly required responses. In the group we were part of, this was pretty stoutly resisted -  but to what effect?

Conclusions

How will Scotland benefit from the development of offshore and marine renewable energies when it is the Crown Estate Commissioners who are being left to control what counts as the planning for where and what kind of operation is licensed for what area?

And with fisheries controlled elsewhere – what’s left?

These two areas of operation – each beyond the immediate control of the Scottish government and of the UK government – also impact on a broad spectrum of environmental concerns in the marine area.

Look at Tiree and Kintyre, for example.

No one knows what the environmental impact will be with wind farms, all on sea bed platforms and wave farms anchored on it.

How much destruction will be caused during installation – involving extensive additional anchoring from support and construction vessels? And beyond this there will be very extensive cable laying to be done to get the power ashore and to link it to the national grid.

What will all this disturbance do to the marine species that normally move through and live on these waters?

What will be the total submarine impact of the sheer number of obstructions that will impede the flow of the sea?

Will we see orcas, seals and basking sharks learning to swim slaloms around lines of submarine turbine platforms and anchor cables? Or will this be their equivalent of life being too short to stuff a mushroom and see them finding somewhere else to go?

What will be the impact on fishing grounds?

And with no real Scottish controls over fisheries, species may be starved of their natural food sources in Scottish waters, seeing some, like the already threatened common seal, become extinct and others change their traditional routes.

The presence of these two major factors, invisible in the Marine Scotland document, make the central purpose of this consultation pointless.

It would certainly be obscene, in this situation, to establish an expensive system of regional marine area authorities, with duplicated bureacracies.

These would have no control over the two key issues – renewables development and fisheries. They would  spend their time reconciling the conflicting interests of their multiplicity of ‘stakeholders’ with their wildly varying territories and overlapping boundaries.

Everything points to the greater sense of a centralised national authority with the robust regional representation and an intelligent veto system we have described.

And at best, that can only tweak the periphery until government/s decide to change some critical parameters. The position of the Crown Estate Commissioners has to be the place to start.

We have published an article on the report commissioned on this issue by six Scottish local authorities (one of which was Argyll and Bute) and which reported in 2007.

This concluded that it is within the devolved powers of the Scottish Government unilaterally to change the ownership of the Scottish rights and assets held in the portfolio known as The Crown Estate.

The current Scottish Government – a Scottish National Party administration – has been aware of this report’s conclusions since it came to power in 2007. The Scottish Government has also previously used the same powers to change the situation around feudal tenures. But it has not taken the initiative said to be within its own powers to change the ownerships of the Scottish rights and assets managed by the Crown Estate Commissioners.

Why not? If the 2007 report is legally wrong in its conclusions, the Scottish Government should be making that clear as the reason why it has been unable to act. Conversely, if the report is right in its analysis of the legalities, the Scottish Government should be upfront about why it has preferred to try to get the Westminster Government to act, using reserve powers, and to achieve something rather less that it is supposed to be able to do for itself.

We have asked these questions and have met with waffle and silence. We now have a Freedom of Information request with the Scottish government designed to discover what the internal issues on this matter have been.

Unless and until the position of the Crown Estate Commissioners is resolved, there is absolutely no point in wasting any more time and money on this particular adventure.

Whatever you think on any of the matters involved, we suggest that you participate in the consultation – and you have only until 18th February to do so.

Responses can be made:

  • by email to: marineconsultation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
  • online here.
Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Ma.gnolia
  • NewsVine
  • StumbleUpon
  • SphereIt
  • Reddit
  • Slashdot
  • Print

21 Responses to Scottish Marine Regions consultation: a depressing waste of time

  1. So much smoke an mirrors;

    Though slightly off at a tangent this is not the only poorly managed and rushed consultation Please read below:

    As sent to the Herald yesterday

    The analysis by W. Flood of the economic realities behind Alex Salmond’s scramble for wind (Dream of being the sheikhs of green energy is wide of the mark, The Herald, February 5) is entirely believable. The prediction is that our wind generation capacity could reach eventually almost 300 GW. This is enough to string fairy lights many times around the moon in time for next Christmas but it is about 80 times the amount of energy we actually need. The vast wealth created on the back of huge government subsidies will flow into the coffers of the energy giants rather than into those of the state. The expense of it all, particularly that of the construction of off-shore windfarms, will, of course, be heaped on the hard-pressed consumer. No doubt about that.
    Another side to the story, however, reveals even more serious weaknesses and negative issues which undermine the credibility of Salmond’s grandiose vision of Scotland as a ‘green Saudi Arabia’. This quest for sheikhdom on his part will impact dangerously in economic terms on the nation’s tourist industry and the small communities who foster and promote such an important source of national income. It will downgrade Scotland’s image in the world as an unspoiled haven with spectacular scenery. In the political sphere it may even undermine what confidence we have left in our own democracy.
    Having decided to blight the heart of highland Scotland with the Beauly to Denny pylons, it is now becoming clear that if the First Minister holds to his dream there is a real possibility that large areas of ocean off the West Coast of Scotland and around the Western Isles will be scarred with ugly cohorts of giant turbines. This will downgrade and industrialise one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is a well-known fact that many thousands of tourists coming to Scotland to find land and seascape beauty do not like windfarms. Wilderness Scotland, which was the 2005 Tourism Business of the Year, conducted a survey of 1,600 clients from all over the world that same year to discover that 91 per cent of them would not return to the highlands of Scotland if there was significant development of windfarms.
    Take the case of Tiree, the outermost island of the Inner Hebrides, famed for its wildlife, tranquillity, beaches and glorious seascapes. The tourist industry on the island will be wiped out if a proposal by the Spanish-owned Scottish Power Renewables to build hundreds of turbines (between 180 and 500 depending on size), starting just two miles from Tiree’s shores. Some of these will be 600ft high, topping the highest point on Tiree and will be seen from 70 per cent of the island. Throughout the years of disruption in the building of onshore facilities and the erection of of turbines near to land tourists will be driven away from this little island forever. Once the turbines are installed no one will have the slightest inclination to travel for four hours on a ferry from Oban to look at a monstrous windfarm. This will have a hugely negative effect on the island’s income and welfare and, projected over many other popular tourist areas of Scotland a big impact on the national economy.
    Equally disturbing, however, is the fact that the First Minister’s obsession with windpower blows along with it an unhealthy ‘energy fascism’. Offshore windfarm consultation processes are farcical, leaving communities virtually no say in their future. When the proposed Tiree development was first announced the island folk were told that even if everyone on the island rejected the plan, that would make no difference at all – it would still go ahead. Proposals for this and other developments offshore, which do not need to adhere to the normal planning procedures, are being railroaded through with an eye to the May elections for the Scottish Parliament. Tragic enough is the blight to be cast upon upon this little country and its seas by the subsidised turbine industry, even more catastrophic would be the weakening of our democratic principles in order to facilitate its growth.

    The No-Tiree-Array group have 4 submissions to complete by the 18th Feb !!! and as stated by Phil Gilmour of Marine Scotland…there is a ‘RUSH’ to have the SEA presented to the 1st Minister prior to the election.

    Haste ye not back Alex and Jim…

    Offshore View

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Tiree is the worst example yet of Salmond’s windfarm juggernaut. This dreadful project would be the worst disaster in this beautiful island’s history. £billions of taxpayers’ money spent to destroy a community, all for the sake of political ambition and commercial greed. And the damn things don’t even work! Come on Scotland. Get behind the No-Tiree-Array campaign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. The situation between the Crown Estate and the Scottish Government is utterly absurd. Pls keep us informed on the outcome of the Freedom of Information request.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Pingback: Scottish Marine Regions consultation: a depressing waste of time – For Argyll

  5. “Looters clearing the valuables” – You really have no concept of the life and livihood of a West Coast creel fisherman – emotive language such as this will hardly do your cause any good. Creel fishing is recognised as a highly sustainable method, with little or no bycatch and does little or no damage to the marine ecosystem. Again, Mr Carter, in a broad sweeping and frankly idiotic statement you have alienated the very people you need to get on side.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • For Andy MacArthur: We were certainly not referring to west coast fishermen.

      Look at the article again. We refer specifically to foreign trawlers.

      Of course there is an issue with blackfish – which fishermen hate as much as anyone and the quota system, as currently operated, makes inevitable; but we have plenty of evidence that the generality of west coast fishermen are responsible and well informed. They also have no wish to foul their own patch. Foreign trawlers have no such restraint and owe no such loyalty.

      These are the ‘looters clearing the valuables’ and they are certainly an issue in Loch Fyne, for one.

      We have heard Argyll fishermen praise the system adopted by the Isle of Man – of serially closing and opening scallop beds around the island and seeing stocks thriving in consequence. We have heard them wish that the UK / Scottish Governments would introduce the same strategy.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Mr MacArthur: The phrase “looters clearing the valuables” in the original item surely refers to the Crown Estate Commissioners, the Holyrood Government etc, and not to sustainable users of the environment as it now stands.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Thank you for this most useful article. Indeed it is a scandal that the Crown Estate has managed to sell ‘leases’ in Scottish waters for exploitation of offshore wind energy before any public consultation took place; and that the subsequent ‘consultation’ has been both incompetently managed (by common account of those who have attended meetings) and widely considered disingenuous and irrelevant, with the outcome decided in advance. (See ‘Offshore View’s’ comment above re Tiree.)

    There is a very serious conflict of interest developing here, especially with the recent settlement whereby the monarchy is henceforth to be financed directly from the revenues of the Crown Estate rather than from the Civil List. The Prince of Wales as Duke of Cornwall is on record as saying that wind farms are ‘a horrendous blot on the landscape’ and has refused permission for any such to be erected on Duchy land. As Duke of Rothesay it will be interesting to see what his views are on the despoliation of the coastal landscapes of the Western Highlands and Islands (it is pure sophistry to think that ‘landscape must be 100 per cent on land or that wind farms one or two miles off an coastline interlaced with islands do not have every bit as great an impact on the landscape). It would be good to think that developments inflicting such appalling damage on the land- and seascape would be no less unacceptable than windmills on Bodmin Moor.

    It is indeed unfortunate that the commercial interests of the Crown Estate for the moment chime with the delusional visions of the current First Minister. In the longer term, it may do neither the government, nor the acceptability of the monarchy in Scotland (which I devoutly support) any good if a ruinously expensive scheme involving the destruction of a unique landscape, which has an economic as well as a spiritual value, is foisted upon the Scottish people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Pingback: Scottish Marine Regions consultation: a depressing waste of time | Wind Energy Investing

  9. HMF – That may well be the case but that’s not how it reads. What about the other elephant?

    Newsroom:

    “We were certainly not referring to west coast fishermen.”

    I don’t know if I find that reassuring?

    “We have heard Argyll fishermen praise the system adopted by the Isle of Man – of serially closing and opening scallop beds around the island and seeing stocks thriving in consequence. We have heard them wish that the UK / Scottish Governments would introduce the same strategy.”

    I’m sure most West Coast fisherman are in favour of that – but again ‘we have heard’ that’s not whats being muted in the Firth of Lorn – not serial closure of scallop beds – just closure period – with no plan to ever reopen these areas, in locations scallops aren’t fished where only sustainable ‘responsible and well informed’ creel fishing for nephrops takes place.

    Indeed these areas have sustainably supported, and continue to support many local fisherman and their families – and in most cases because of the territorial nature of static gear fishing are the only grounds open to them.

    Closure simply for closures sake, without even a base line invertebrate data to asses the current standing stock biomass, yield, CPU etc., in fact with no evidence other than that which applies to a completely different fishery and its methods, with no thought given to how these hard working men or their families are going live when you take away their livelihood away is nothing short of eco-facism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • For Arhur MacArthur: There are a lot of insights people need to have on this complex issue. For instance, the myth is that hand dived scallops are ecologically sound where the traditional bottom scraping is not.

      While the drag scraping undoubtedly ravages the sea floor – as with the well known case of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, it is at least indiscriminate in the scallops it takes.

      Hand divers naturally take only the prime scallops, leaving the beds deprived of breeding stock and disproportionately with more immature and elderly specimens.

      It should be obvious that we are not eco-fascists but are arguing for intelligent action – designed collaboratively (not simply ‘consulted’) – to support the current lives of fishermen and to support their future lives by conserving clearly threatened stocks; and protecting the ecosystem that holds species in a form of balance.

      And we are principally arguing in this article for a focus on doing what can be done – with both elephants. The Government has to move away from the extravagant habit of mistaking for action the endless production of less than competent proposals for unachievable ends.

      In this case all the introduction of Scottish Marine Regions could do is produce another slew of administrators to preside over a power vacuum.

      And to repeat – every industry has its parcels of rogues but the west coast fishermen are generally responsible, well informed – and desperate.
      They – and everyone concerned in every aspect of Scotland’s marine area, simply need determined action on the sway of the elephants.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Newsroom,
    Please explain and enlighten further on the statements:-
    “We are not referring to West Coast fishermen”.
    Then it is stated,
    “These are the “looters clearing the valuables” and they are certainly an issue in Loch Fyne, for one.”
    Please define “looters” in the context of the article.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Foreign trawlers in Loch Fyne? Really! find that hard to believe.
    So if I substitue “looters” with “Foreigners” should it read and are viewers to understand that,
    “There are the “foreigners clearing the valuables” and they are certainly an issue in Loch Fyne, for one”.
    Like it or not Foreign trawlers/longliners and gill-netters do work on the West Coast of Scotland but not inshore, out on the edge of the continental shelf West of St Kilda for example, have done so for years and continue to do.
    Working West of what is commonly called in Euro parlance the “French Line”.
    Scottish Marine Regions will have no effect on the working practices of these “foreign” vessels as it is Brussels that has the final say in Fishery matters, Marine Scotland can only tinker and fine tune the decrees handed down from Brussels.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • For John in KIntyre: You say: ‘Scottish Marine Regions will have no effect on the working practices of these “foreign” vessels as it is Brussels that has the final say in Fishery matters, Marine Scotland can only tinker and fine tune the decrees handed down from Brussels’.

      That is exactly what we are saying in this issue and why – along with the operations of the freebooting Crown Estate Commissioners, the headline is that the exercise is a depressing waste of time.

      And if you consult creelers on Loch Fyne, you can establish for yourself what we have said on the operation of extra-territorial trawlers there. Mid Argyll councillors are also well aware of the situation.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Am in full agreement about the issue of Crown Estate Commissioners who are an unelected quango, full control of all Scottish Seabed should be the remit of Holyrood.
    When it comes to Fisheries, you Newsdesk, seem to be advocating a “territioralist” policy by which I mean local waters for local men, you can not bar or ban a certain section of the fishing industry from any sea area just because they are not local, if local can indeed be defined, or if one disagrees with the method being used.
    You mention Loch Fyne and tell me to consult creelers, why not consult the trawlers?
    I do know of the gear conflict issue and would suggest to you it is a prime example of instrangency by a couple of individuals from both sides, who cannot or will not agree on a Code of Conduct, there will always be a couple of bad apples in the barrel and as a journalist it is always advisable to get a full perspective of the issue before commenting.
    In Argyll we have a very diversified fleet, from 16m scallopers, trawlers to small 8m creel vessels, it would be very difficult to categorise it, crude division and simplistic definitions do not and will not work.
    I do know of the views of one Mid Argyll Councilor, the Councilor for Minard, who has taken sides without fully consulting all the parties involved, she will certainly not be picking up many of the votes in the majority of fishing villages of Kintyre if indeed anywhere in Argyll in the forthcomming election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. “Arhur MacArthur” WTF?

    Thanks for the lecture on Scallops

    “It should be obvious that we are not eco-fascists but are arguing for intelligent action – designed collaboratively (not simply ‘consulted’) – to support the current lives of fishermen and to support their future lives by conserving clearly threatened stocks; and protecting the ecosystem that holds species in a form of balance.”

    By that rationale would I be right in assuming ForArgyll would oppose the the indiscriminate and permanent closure to creel fisherman of areas where stocks of the only species fished (eg nephrops) are healthy and are not threatened?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. For John in Kintyre: You’re quite right about the stand off in Loch Fyne and that nothing can be done about non-local boats. But non local boats do have a lesser sense of responsibility to an environment that is not their own. What do you see as – if not the answer, a constructive way of addressing this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Pingback: Scottish Marine Regions consultation: a depressing waste of time – For Argyll

  16. “What do you see as – if not the answer, a constructive way of addressing this?”
    A legal and binding Code of Conduct, observed by both sides, but please remember this issue probably only involves two individuals who are poles apart.
    You can take the horse to the trough but can not make it drink from the trough unless the horse is thirsty.
    By this I mean there has to be a willingness and resolve to settle the issue from both parties.
    We have here a classic example of trench warfare mentality where no side will give or take as they are too opposed to one another. This to me seems to be a personal issue between the warring factions with others (both creelers/trawlers) not involved in this vendetta being
    mere onlookers.
    Why is it that both sectors peacefully co-exist elsewhere where there is a larger concentration of both creelers and trawlers on the same grounds, because they talk and resolve any relevent issues, thus avoid conflict and confrontation.
    Banning or ring-fencing one specific area for either of the methods does not work, it will and does effect the sustainibilty in the long run, take Loch Torridon as an example of a creel only MSC fishery where an influx of extra vessels negated and suspended the accreditation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Pingback: Argyll News: Caveat emptor: Clyde Inshore Fisheries Group consultations | For Argyll

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


All the latest comments (including yours) straight to your mailbox, everyday! Click here to subscribe.