Wee Box Appeal arrives in Fraserburgh

SCIAF director Alistair Dutton with Sunrise skipper John STephen on the quayside at Fraserburgh Harbour.
SCIAF director Alistair Dutton with Sunrise skipper John STephen on the quayside at Fraserburgh Harbour.

SCIAF director Alistair Dutton took the charity’s WEE BOX appeal to Fraserburgh to meet local fishermen on Thursday.

This year’s appeal tells the story of SCIAF’s work with poor families who depend on fishing to survive in Cambodia.

Alistair visited the town’s busy fish market, met staff, and was given a tour of a fishing trawler. He shared stories of the people he met in Cambodia who SCIAF works with, describing how they’ve struggled to feed their families because of the problems such as poverty and illegal fishing.

He also learned more about the issues affecting Scottish fishing communities.

This year the UK government is matching, pound-for- pound, all donations given to the WEE BOX appeal before May. 8

Alistair said: “It was a great pleasure and a privilege to meet people working in the fishing industry in Fraserburgh. I was able to share stories of our work with families dependent on fishing in Cambodia as well as learning more about the challenges people face here in Scotland.

“I was struck by many similarities such as how they manage their fish stocks, how they preserve their catch and make sure they get a decent price at market, and how people working together is often the best way to overcome the issues they face.”

Working with its local partner in Cambodia, Development and Partnership in Action (DPA), SCIAF helped the community to set up a Community Fishery Committee, which filed the first successful application to establish the villagers’ ownership of their stretch of river and their unique right to fish on it.

The association also works closely with the police and local authorities to regularly patrol the river to prevent further illegal fishing and protect breeding areas for the fish.

In the coming weeks Alistair plans to visit a number of other fishing communities in different parts of Scotland to share the WEE BOX story and hopefully encourage more people to support the charity’s life-changing work.

Archie Millar, secretary of the Fish Salesmen’s Association and Fraserburgh and District Benevolent Fund, helped organise SCIAF’s fact-finding trip to the port.

Archie said: “It was a pleasure to meet Alistair and hear all the stories about their work in Cambodia and all over the world. I think the work SCIAF is doing helping people get their rights to fish is absolutely central to preserving livelidhoods for the future.

“Having that link between Scotland and Cambodia in terms of lessons learned is vital. People I spoke to before Alistair came up here were all keen to help and show him how they do it here. Fraserburgh is a very warm place.”

To find out more about the SCIAF and the appeal, please visit www.sciaf.org.uk or call 0141 354 5555.