The Scottish Government say they are considering urgent action to address exceptionally high levels of prawn fishing activities in the West of Scotland.
West Coast fishermen have been raising their concerns about the situation for many weeks with no action from the Scottish Government. The issue was first highlighted in the Stornoway Gazette on June 21 where local fishermen pushed for the Government to listen to their concerns. They stressed that due to an influx of vessels from the East Coast the fishery could close early as limits would be met before the end of the year.
Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said today (Friday): “We want to do all we can to ensure that fishermen can catch their quotas, however the unprecedented prawn fishing pressures in the West has put that at risk. Therefore I’ve instructed my officials to urgently explore measures to remedy the situation.
“Biological factors mean that prawns have been late appearing in the North Sea – but EU measures as part of the Cod Recovery Plan are too inflexible to make allowances for this unexpected development.
“Clearly we want to see West Coast fishermen able to fish their local waters, therefore we are proposing to temporarily restrict access for North Sea vessels so that a full year’s fishery in the west can be maintained. This will mean the fleet has the time to catch its full quota.
“I have received a full report about the situation from Marine Scotland who are urgently consulting with industry so that we have temporary controls in place as soon as possible. I recognise the deep concerns of the industry about this issue and we will continue to carefully monitor developments.”