Fraserburgh and district councillor Charles Buchan has hailed a fishing allowance increase for small boat owners that will see them able to catch more mackerel.
Owners and skippers of boats under 10 metres in length will now be able to catch 1300 tonnes of mackerel from line, an increase from their previous allowance of 300.
“I was delighted to hear the Minister for Rural Affairs, Mr. Richard Lochhead, make an announcement that he intends to raise the allocation for line caught mackerel for small boats,” Councillor Buchan told us.
The SNP councillor had been attending the Marine Scotland Scottish Inshore Fishing Conference last month when the news was announced.
He continued: “Although the vast majority of the mackerel caught is by our modern, world leading, pelagic fleet, the inshore catching sector, including all species, is worth £90 million.
“A high percentage of this feeds straight back into the local economy, and this increase in mackerel will help the sector to survive.
“I’m very pleased we were listened to. Many fishermen from Fraserburgh, Inverallochy and Cairnbulg had expressed their concerns, and the justification of their case for a raising of allocation was clear.
“Last summer, it was galling to hear that, in the few weeks the mackerel was off our shores, boats were limited to a few boxes a week, when, still using sustainable hook and line methods, they could have caught ten times that.
“As well as economically, the under 10 metre fishing boat sector is also important socially and culturally.
“Fishing and the sea is part of our history and heritage, and is why our coastal towns and villages exist. We need to keep our young people connected to the sea, both as a source of income to them, and for sport and leisure.
“The sea is our biggest advantage, and in the future we shall still have to rely on the sea for our prosperity.”
Councillor Buchan explained that further details of the new quota would be revealed in the coming weeks, but that 1000 tonnes of the new mackerel quota was to be allocated to the East coast, while the West will be allowed to catch up to 300.