Fishermen call for commonsense approach on MPAs

Uk Minister for Farming, Food and Fisheries George Eustice (right) met with Scottish Fishermen's Federation officials including Bertie Armstrong (centre).
Uk Minister for Farming, Food and Fisheries George Eustice (right) met with Scottish Fishermen's Federation officials including Bertie Armstrong (centre).

With the consultation on the management of 11 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scotland launched by the Scottish Government, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) is calling for a commonsense approach that achieves the twin aims of sustainable fishing and marine conservation.

The SFF says that the guidelines as set out by Marine Scotland for the management of MPAs is very clear with a focus on the need to protect vulnerable marine features while at the same time allowing the continuation of sustainable fishing practices.

The consultation will also include the management arrangements for nine Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).

SFF chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, said: “The key criteria for the fishing industry were that the process needed to be both evidential and proportional, and exactly the same principle is required for their management.

“At the core of this process is the agreed protection of evidenced features and not any move towards the gratuitous displacement of sustainable fishing just for the sake of it. If that were to happen, it will deliver absolutely no marine conservation benefits and will simply displace fishing into other areas.