The following is a summary of a letter received from Mr Lochhead.
First of all, I fully recognise the role of RSAs as stakeholders in the fishing sector; appreciate the role that RSAs can play in the development of our economy, and it is important that their voice as well as that of commercial fishermen is taken into account in the management of Scottish fisheries.
To make sure that we have a fuller picture of RSAs sector, I have recently commissioned a study on the impact of RSAs on the Scottish economy.
As a result of our policy objectives to diversify the economies in our coastal communities, there is growing interest in the economic development constraints and opportunities provided by activities such as sea angling in these areas.
On RSAs representation at IFGs level – commercial fishermen should be at the core of the IFG structure since it is about the management of inshore fisheries pursued on a commercial basis. This by no means implies that RSAs will be unable to input to the decision-making process at IFGs level.
I believe that working in partnership with a wide range of interests can only be to the long term benefit of IFGs’ operation, affirming stakeholders’ confidence in a system that both affords commercial fishermen a central place and that is genuinely participative by taking into account the views of other stakeholders.
My officials have just concluded their visits around the Scottish coast in connection with the Taking Stock exercise, I can assure you that RSAs views will be taken into account when considering the way forward on this matter.