councillor Brian Topping has called on all sectors of the local fishing industry to embrace change and introduce electonic auctioning at Fraserburgh Fishmarket.
The Broch councillor made his plea at the meeting of Fraserburgh Harbour Board, on which he also sits as a Harbour Commissioner.
He is concerned that the Broch could get left behind if other ports introduce new technology.
Calling on fishermen, fish salesmen, buyers and harbour officals, to work together to make an electronic market a reality, he said:
“We have a quality product being landed here and we should be proud of it.
“We need to get everyone on side.”
The Aberdeenshire Councillor urged the board to organise a special meeting with both fishermen and salesmen to outline the benefits that a new state of the art electronic system would bring.
He fears that other ports are already moving in that direction.
Convener Peter Bruce said he felt that an electonic market would come and that it was a matter of the timing:
“I hope that members of the Board will go out and try and sell this development. I would like to ask them to do this for the benefit of all,” he said.
Harbour Commissioner Andra Tait, who is also a Pelagic Skipper, pointed to the fact that his sector incorporated electronic selling some years ago and landers saw increased prices.
Commissioner Alistair Bruce, another fishing skipper, suggested that harbour officials produce a report detailing the operational and financial advanatages that such a switch would bring to skippers.
Board members believe that such a move will happen, but acknowledged that all sections of the port would have to want to drive this development forward.
The Board resolved to keep the matter on the agenda and in the meantime try and arrange a meeting with fishsalesmen and skippers to discuss the issue of introducing such a system.
Commissioner George Sutherland MBE echoed Councillor Topping’s call.
“I firmly believe that if fishermen want to utilise their best prices they must bite the bullet. It would benefit the port and the salesman.
“It would mean better prices, more buyers, including from Europe, and access to more markets,” he said.
He suggested that the fishsalesmen could operate the new system, bringing in their expertise to set up a company to run it and making it a role model for a modern fishing industry.
A spokesman for the Fraserburgh Fishsalesmen’s Association declined to comment until they had received a communication from the board.