Call for public to back petition

​The industry is calling for the Scottish Government to drop its current policy.​The industry is calling for the Scottish Government to drop its current policy.
​The industry is calling for the Scottish Government to drop its current policy.
Scotland’s seafood sector has launched a concerted campaign against Scottish Government plans to ban fishing and harvesting in at least 10 per cent of the country’s waters.

Representatives from across the industry published a petition calling on ministers to drop its policy on Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs).

Given the direct impact on coastal communities, they are urging concerned Angus locals to sign the document in large numbers to underline the strength of opposition to the controversial conservation measures which would have a catastrophic effect on the sector.

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Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, which represents around 400 vessels, said: “Banning fishing in at least 10% of our waters is the wrong approach. No evidence has been produced by ministers to show why HPMAs are necessary or that they will achieve their very vague aims.

“They are being introduced to appease the Greens in the coalition government and will push the seafood sector into the red. It’s important that we push this message home.”

Jimmy Buchan, chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association, added: “While the government's aim to protect Scotland's marine environment is commendable and over a third of Scotland’s seas are already designated for protection, concerns have been raised about the impact of HPMAs on rural communities and the businesses that support them.

“It is crucial that the Scottish Government listens to all stakeholders and takes into account their concerns and perspectives.

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Furthermore, the government must not be beholden to any particular political agenda, including that of the Greens, and must ensure that the interests of all stakeholders are protected.”

Ms Macdonald concluded: “Nobody cares more about our marine environment than those who are dependent upon it for their livelihoods. Coastal communities the length and breadth of Scotland are united in their opposition to this ill-founded policy.

"We call on the Scottish Government to scrap their plans, scrap the ban and acknowledge that it’s time to think again.”