After months of pretending to support the proposals for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scottish waters , the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has shown it’s true colours by expressing disbelief and anger at the new management measures for MPAs announced by the Scottish Government today.
Whilst other stakeholders, including the recreational sector have had to make compromises, the SFF instead of recognising that healthy productive seas will be a huge benefit to all marine stakeholders, including the commercial sector, the SFF maintains that the measures announced go far beyond the proportionate and evidential approach that was promised for the management arrangements of the MPA network
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF said:“A great deal of time and money was spent in genuine participation in the consultancy process and we honestly thought that we had in sight a set of compromises on management in the proposed MPAs that would, with a bit of expected give and take, meet the aim and allow us to demonstrate an example of what the Scottish Fisheries Minister has seen fit in the past to call ‘co-management’. Unfortunately, the input of the fishing industry was not properly considered in the consultation. Our fishermen put their trust in the consultation process and these outcomes may well have implications for future stakeholder engagement.”
Such is their approach, they are not the only ones to have invested a great deal of time and money, but as we have seen in the past, rather than work with other stakeholders they claim foul and threaten.
Whilst Armstrong identifies that the people to suffer will be inshore fishermen who have done so much to contribute to their communities and to Scotland’s wellbeing, in reality, in areas like the Clyde, it’s the marine environment and every other user of it, who have suffered from the effects of destructive and excessive over fishing.