Boost for Isles fishing industry

In the latest round of European Fisheries Fund (EFF) grants, five recipients in the Western Isles have received £140,312 to support business improvements and growth.

The EFF grants provided in the Western Isles include:

• Comhairlie nan Eilean Siar awarded £99,201 towards the improvements in refuelling provision for inshore fishermen at fishery piers, including upgraded tanks and new technology.

• £11,938 for the Brighter Morn of Arveenish in Barra, towards a new hydraulic system to improve the hauling of nets on board. This work will significantly improve the safety of the crew, while also reducing damage to the catch and therefore improving the returns.

• £22,278 to facilitate the conversion of the Heather Isle of North Uist to static gear operations. The business will be able to diversify its operation during October to March annually by converting to prawn creeling.

Announcing the funding from Brussels, as the decisive December Fisheries Council of Ministers meeting are underway, Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“The support that the EFF scheme gives to fishermen and our coastal communities is vital, underpinning economic development and helping to sustain the industry. All corners of Scotland have received support under this round, including five projects in the Western Isles.

“We need the fishing industry to be innovative and efficient, underpinned by modern and sustainable fishing practices. And grants under the EFF are helping to ensure that continues to be the case.

“With crunch Fisheries Council talks now underway in Brussels, these EFF awards are a timely reminder that the control the EU has on Scottish fisheries – from grants provision to deciding the quota limits for the fleet – is crucial to the success and survival of our fishing industry.

“That’s why this week I will be fighting hard to get a fair deal for Scottish fishermen and stop some of the damaging and unnecessary cuts resulting from the legal straitjacket imposed by the EU’s Cod Recovery Plan. I am fully committed to ensuring our industry – and the fishing communities it supports – has the backing needed to secure a positive long-term future.”