Quota boost to expand inshore mackerel fishery

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The Scottish allocation of mackerel quota for inshore fishing will be increased by 1,000 tonnes in 2014 and could be worth an additional £1.2m to the sector.

This increase in allocation brings the total quota to 1,300 tonnes for vessels under 10 metres and will form part of a two-year trial.

This trial, which was announced after a consultation with the industry and interested individuals and organisations, will also include:

* Consultation between the Scottish Government and Inshore Fisheries Groups about management of the expanded fishery

* Working with Seafood Scotland as part of the Seafood Partnership Report to identify and increase markets for line caught mackerel any unused quota to be reallocated to the trawler fleet

* No new controls will be introduced on equipment used in the line fishery

Scottish Government officials will now communicate detailed arrangements for the management of the fishery as part of the annual management consultation on Scottish fish quota allocations.

Speaking at the Inshore Fisheries conference in Perth, Mr Lochhead said: “Inshore fishing is vital to Scotland and to many of our coastal communities and the fleet lands fantastic, top quality, high value products that are exported all over the world.

“The value of the inshore catch in 2012 was almost £90 million and this significant increase in quota for 2014 should bring a real benefit to these communities.

“Our inshore fleet of some 1,500 vessels is diverse - from trawlers to creelers, dredgers to netters, and divers to hand-gatherers but the real value of our inshore fishery extends well beyond its landings.

“It’s about the people and the communities which make inshore fisheries such a rich part of Scotland’s tapestry.

“Inshore fishing is hard-wired into the culture and heritage of our coastal communities. The wider benefit this industry brings is vital, supporting schools, local services, and many local businesses often in the most remote, fragile parts of the country.”