Call to lift ban on Dogfish landings in Minch

Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead is being asked to reconsider the ban on landing protected Dogfish from the Minch.

A large amount of the fish is caught as bye-catch and has to be returned to the sea under fishing regulations based on the view that it can survive this process. However this view has been challenged and following representations on the issue, Barra Councillor Donald Manford has now written to Fisheries Minister to call for the local community to have more input in decision making and management of natural resources.

He says there is ‘clear evidence’ that dogfish do not survive and that this ‘not only undermines the reason for discarding food, it undermines trust and confidence in the good governance of the stocks.’

In his letter he states: “I would welcome information and guidance on how we as a community might establish new forms of engaging with the Scottish Government, its agencies and indeed all responsible environmental interests. In order to secure understanding with the increasing and varied interests in our coastal resources, it is imperative that trustworthy evidence is secured along the ability to be able to respect the basis for decisions.”

He continues: “I ask that immediate consideration be given to permitting the landing of dogfish caught only as unavoidable bye-catch; to avoid tons of good food being discarded over the next two months, to reduce the importing of this very species from a targeted fishery and to alleviate the very real economic pressures on the industry.”