Fishing sector concerns on marine policy changes being taken to public meetings on Clydeside

The Clyde Fishermen’s Association is holding a series of public meetings around the Clyde waterway, with several in Argyll or within easy reach of it. The purposes of the meetings are:

  • to  discuss the current concerns in the industry for its survival in the face of changes in Marine Scotland’s policy, including what they see as ‘over ambitious’ plans for Marine Protected Areas – MPAs;
  • to assess the attitudes of the non-fishing sector public and the business sector;
  • to seek public understanding and support for their concerns.

The Association points out that threats to the fishing sector do not just affect jobs in that sector – but extend way beyond it. The industry employs engineers, netmakers, haulage contractors, fish processors. The sector also supports hotels, restaurants and shops in the areas local to the fishing ports.

This makes the concerns of the sector live issues for communities and businesses, which is why this series of public meetings is being held.

Everyone is welcome to these sessions and the Association makes specific mention of the business community and people outside the fishing sector.

Some sessions have already taken place but the majority are still to come. GHey are:

  • 23rd November: CAMPBELTOWN – Ardshiel Hotel at 7.30pm
  • 24th November: TABERT- Village Hall at 7.30pm
  • 25th November: PORT ELLEN – Islay Hotel at 7.30pm
  • 26th November: TROON – Walker Hall at 7.30pm
  • 30th November: LARGS – Brisbane Hotel at 7.30pm


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Related Articles & Comments

  • What the CFA is not telling us is that MPAs will only close small areas of the Clyde to the most damaging of fishing practices. These are practices our predecessors (mainly fishermen) fought hard to get banned in the 1890s with good reason. Since bans on bottom trawling in the Clyde were lifted in the 1960s and 80s our white fish stocks have declined to the point of being commercially unviable. This is not because of seals or Chernobyl as the CFA would like us to believe. Overfishing, a lack of management and poor leadership from business associations such as the CFA are the main reasons we no longer eat fin fish caught from the Clyde. Hundreds of jobs have been lost in the process but MPAs can play a part in reversing this by improving the health and productivity of the Clyde.

    MPAs are not No Take Zones, they are designed to protect marine species and habitats, while at the same time allowing nearly all of the marine activities which already occur in these areas to continue. They will even allow bottom trawling in 36% of the South Arran MPA and 51% of the Upper Loch Fyne MPA. They cannot be described as overly ambitious. At the same time they will encourage well-managed creeling, scallop diving, wildlife tourism and eventually sea angling, all of which used to support a far greater diversity and number of jobs around the Clyde. The Clyde does not belong only to the bottom trawlers and dredgers. As Richard Lochhead the Cabinet Secretary has stated, our seas belong to us all.

    It is therefore very regretable that while many west coast communities are preparing to realise the environmental, social and economic potential of MPAs the CFA is doing everything in its power to undermine the MPA process, scare local communities with alarmist and misleading claims, and prevent creelers and other more sustainable forms of fishing from flourishing in the Clyde.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 18

    Community of Arran Seabed Trust November 24, 2015 4:13 pm Reply
    • What COAST and all the other Environmental Lobby Groups do publicise is that it has been scientifically recognised by ICES who recommend to catch levels to the EU Commision that the Clyde Mobile Fleet fish sustainably below the EU maximum sustainable yield (MSY) level in harvesting the targeted species, nethrops, in fact they believe that the Clyde Mobile Fleet fish their target species that sustainably that they are recommending an unprecedented 41% increase in the Total Allowable Catch that will still be below the recommended MSY level.
      It also a fact due to the efforts in designing and using more highly selective nets that there is no discernible by-catch of fish landed, this was verified by the Independent Observer Scheme carried out under supervision by the Marine Scotland Lab and the figures and data then forwarded to the EU SCEFF Committee who analysed the data and then recommended to the EU Commission that the Clyde Mobile Nethrop Fleet be exempted from the Cod Recovery Plan due to the low levels of fish by-catch that are less than a scientifically verifiable figure of less than 1.05%.
      COAST and their partners, SIFT and SCFF, do not want these facts publicised and would rather harp back to the past for their data and misinformation.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

      John MacDougall, Fisherman November 27, 2015 2:20 pm Reply
  • I can only speak for my own community in Tarbert, the very well attended meeting by all sections in my community were very surprised to learn of the inter-connection of these environmental “charities” in the Clyde area, SIFT, COAST & SCFF have or have had directors from each on their respective boards, it was also interesting to learn how these “charities” are funded by London & American Charitable Trusts, they use this money in part to lobby the Scottish Government.
    To me personally the above comment on MPA’s could be construed to have come from any one of the aforementioned “charities” SIFT, COAST or the SCFF.
    My last point is on MPA’s.
    I fully support and have agreed with option B as recommended by SNH to the Minister Richard Lochhead as have the CFA.
    MPA’s were not and are not proposed to be a management tool, as stated by COAST, to allow uncontrolled creeling and scallop diving to the disadvantage of other stakeholders.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

    John MacDougall, Fisherman November 25, 2015 2:59 pm Reply
  • MPA`s have arrived in Scotland courtesy of an EU directive (EU habitats directive) these MPA`s are already in force in EU states and are very heavily funded by the EU. Be under no illusion that the CFA and local communities can write petition and protest as much as they can but it will fall on deaf ears its basically a complete run around until the SNP have us complying with EU legislation, ALL EU regulation in every sector of our industries. Environmental-windfarms, Drivers hours CPC`s-transport and areas like the subsidising of any commercial activity in that one we can see why calmac/corran with be left out to tenders, and hypnotized by the schengen agreement even tho some/many EU states have now recognised its a failure ! the list is long.

    SNP will stop at nothing to have Scotland a subservient to Brussels state of the EUSSR, it just makes you wonder have they any ability what so ever to construct a path forward for Scotland on their own. I suggest they start by looking in the dictionary at `nationalism` simply because as we can see plainly one sector after another if its not EU then your not having it.

    Please do not mention the `top table` one i`ll be rolling about the floor laughing ye might as well be serving the tea as all these never ending directives show with a miniscule vote and no veto, the top table only serves one and only one thing the people at it and their masters bank accounts, if you even think you`ve complained about bankers start googleing EU accounts !

    However there is a once in a lifetime chance coming along and its to vote leave the EU. that is the way every mind-set nationalist should be going, simply put it is the ONLY chance to rid Scotland of the endless crushing of the fabric of our communities. Before the nats come on screaming, why is it that with all these MSP`s and MP`s we do not see even one raising debate on the EU – the answer is if they do not tow the party line they are out – some shambles of a democracy eh ?

    Perhaps some one at the SNP might take a leaf out of the prime minister of Polands Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, book and rid the place of EU flags demonstrating real nationalism, heaven forbid if they even try it they will be cast aside instantly Whilst there is no denying the fishermen and true representatives of our way of life have run a valiant campaign, the tide of the SNP EU is fast flowing against them

    Love Europe Leave EU

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

    Davy MacMillan November 25, 2015 4:18 pm Reply
  • are those who make up COAST going to disclose their own interests in this matter and how it will benefit them financially seeing as they’ve brought up the scallop diving and tourist angle, perhaps a small boat taking tourists out to see sealife? or perhaps you could show these visitors where you faked the seabed footage in lamlash loch where no trawling has taken place since October 1989? how do i know? i was there, one day and a total of perhaps 30 mins towing, we had to leave due to weather and catching so many queen scallops in that 30 mins that it tore the whole net away from it’s ropes. we never went back and nobody has towed there since. a very lucrative income for a diver with the whole loch to himself, especially if they film a dead seabed under some fish cages and pass it off as the damage caused by trawlers two decades earlier.
    i won’t even go into the oil rigs and tankers that used to moor there in the 70’s and 80’s but maybe some members of COAST were not living there at the time?
    i am however happy to see that the loch has recovered so well that you can now find sun fish swimming in it, must be true, i saw it on footage on the BBC Scotland news and they’d never lie to us would they? it was on the same report showing how the seabed had recovered after the loch was closed, funny how it waited for a piece of legislation before deciding to recover after lying untouched for two decades? perhaps COAST could draft up some legislation to encourage the gulf stream to return to it’s course of the mid 1950’s perhaps? what about a law demanding the hole in the ozone layer repair itself?
    i noticed that fishermen in the 1890’s were against trawling, don’t bother elaborating on that quote or putting context to it, might send a different message, you’ll have probably read in the same books about government agents shooting fishermen in loch fyne too, should we return to those methods, after all the clearances that followed in some parts of the coastline did free up a lot of land for hunting and shooting.
    you are not saving the clyde, you are killing clyde ports and towns, if it had been a bloody steelworks you’d be up in arms about outside interests costing jobs, well thats how some people involved are viewed by fishing communities, see and donate to a local foodbank while patting yourself on the back.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

    morris shaw November 25, 2015 5:47 pm Reply
  • It concerns me that Coast ,Sift and others seem determined to make this a ‘Trawlers /Dredgers versus Creelers’ argument. It is undeniable that there has beeen and will be gear conflict but I BELIEVE THE MAJORITY find ways of resolving gear conflict. I also do not believe that SCFF etc speak for all or even the majority of creel fishermen. Many have experience of both methods and creeling is cheaper and easier for many entering the industry and for those without the back-up of established fishing families to support them-i.e. it represents a route to self employment for young members of the fishing communities to get a start. In short polarisation of the debate helps no-one! The regulating order If imposed as currently outlined in will result in displacement of effort and quite possibly more gear conflict. It may also mean that the remaining areas are fished more intensively than at present? It also annoys me that SIFT will claim credit for recovering stocks which are currently improving in nosmall in think, due to on going conservation methods actively persued at present by the fleet-i.e. gear selectivity larger meshes /escape panels coverless trawls/changes in net design with headline heights massively reduced which helps cut fin-fish mortality. All of that and more on top of the fact that the Clyde fisherman have long operated a weekend ban on mobile gear in the clyde-which results in 4.5 (weather dependant fishing days for vessels under 70ft only) per week. All of this has been swept under the carpet and ignored. A creel can and will fish 24/7- 365 if tended and baited……… On a stormy day it will- in most locations, still fish when the trawlers are tied up…….. If when fin-fish recover -how to do the proponents of the regulating order intend that additional quota a) obtained ????? and b) be alocated to catch and therefore ‘benefit’ the communities the communities they purport to be so concerned about?
    Finally CFA and non-aligned fishermen appear in my opinion to be not against MPAs in principle-but object to outsiders with no cultural or economic stake coming to the clyde and others areas and influencing policy for the ebenefit of a few select individuals.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

    David McGill November 26, 2015 11:18 am Reply
    • An excellent response David.
      I have been closely involved in the stakeholder engagement for the development of the Scottish MPA Network and I can say that the fishing industry were supportive of the process all embarked on. What industry did not anticipate was that the Scottish Government would look to impose fisheries management restrictions that were not deemed necessary by Marine Scotland and SNH. It is a fact that there were proposals on the table which, in the words of Marine Scotland (for South Arran) would meet all the conservation requirements. The Cabinet Secretary chose to disregard these options in favour of requests for more from Civil Society (ENGO campaign) and static gear rather than permit sustainable activity on areas where the protected features were known not to be present. On another point, looking at the SIFT proposal for a Regulating Order it is becoming clear that statistics are being mis-represented. They claim that 75% of theClyde area remains open to scallop dredging

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      Kenny Coull November 27, 2015 8:57 pm Reply
  • It seems that the distant relationship between COAST and reality continues to be as distant as the Clyde is from the majority of COAST funders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    James Cook November 27, 2015 2:01 pm Reply
  • Well managed creel fishery and scallop diving. Waffle. Neither are well managed, which is why prices have reduced for the product they catch. No quotas, no pot limits. It’s a free for all. I was in the potting sector for 14 years. As for diving, maybe some divers are honest, but I’ve seen boats retain the small ones and plank them somewhere else until grown to size. So even more waffle from Arran coast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Kevin Campbell November 27, 2015 9:41 pm Reply

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