A recent Government funded economic assessment for the management of the Scottish inshore fisheries estimated that there could be as much as a £1.3bn benefit for the Scottish economy over the next twenty years and a net gain of 1,490 new jobs for the economies of coastal communities.
The Report identified that high impact fishing methods such as trawling and dredging, contrary to the claims of many in that sector, rather than creating employment in the South West and East Coast, are constraining economic and employment growth and that: “Scotland could create more jobs and generate an excess of economic benefits by imposing a 0-3 NM restriction on the use of mobile gear”.
Such an approach has been taken in Scandinavian countries who healthier fish stocks by excluding destructive mobile gear from between 3 to 12 miles offshore – such an approach shows that more profitable and sustainable long term commercial and recreational fisheries are possible when effective fisheries management and a long term approach is taken by politicians – unfortunately, such has not been the case in Scottish inshore waters for decades now.
The report commissioned by Marine Scotland looked at all stakeholder interests including commercial fisheries, tourism, recreational angling, diving and the general public. It was estimated that there could be as much as a £1.3bn benefit for the Scottish economy over the next twenty years and a net gain of 1,490 new jobs. The report states these are conservative figures with an inbuilt bias towards the sector most negatively affected i.e. the mobile fishing industry.
According to Cabinet Secretary for fisheries Richard Lochhead: “This substantial piece of research highlights a number of key issues and will help inform our thinking around improving the management of our inshore fisheries.
“This work gives us a better understanding of the interactions between fishermen in inshore waters and the potential impact of different management measures.
Let us hope that more notice is taken of it than other Reports which SSACN and others contributed to in order to try and get the value and needs of the sea angling sector accepted into fisheries management.