Referring to the development of a Scottish Marine Bill, Mr Lochhead recently said "I am determined to use the months ahead to prepare the ground for ambitious and meaningful legislation……."No sensible person who cares about the future of the marine environment wants a half-cocked, incomplete bill."
The biodiversity of our marine environment is affected by industries which, although they have many regulations, are actually pretty much unregulated.
So, it is to be hoped that the development of such a Bill will be a truly inclusive activity, rather than the usual commercial interests pushing for a solution which will allow them to continue their over-exploitation and uncontrolled environmental damage.
For years many scientists have warned of the effects of fishing unsustainably, but commercial interests and previous Governments always ridiculed them and worked together to ignore the advice by ensuring fishery decision-making bodies were dominated by fishing interests.
Will anything change ? Clyde fish stocks are at their lowest levels; huge areas of seabed and reefs are destroyed by scallop dredging; many once common species of fish are now locally extinct; and great efforts are made by commercial interests to block even small conservation measures like Lamlash Bay.
Mr Lochhead’s initiative is a good sign, however, if the solution is to be truly ‘world class’ the process will need embrace recreational as well as commercial interests and any subsequent legislation will need to be effective and enforced – otherwise there will be no change.
A major concern is will anything actually happen ?; ‘preparing the ground’ is often a euphemism for masterly inactivity.
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