MSP responds to Barra consultation

WESTERN Isles MSP Alasdair Allan, has today (Monday, October 10) responded to the consultation on the proposed marine Special Area of Conservation for the Sound of Barra.

Dr Allan commented: “My constituents, not only in the fishing industry but in the community more generally, have expressed their clear opposition to this proposed designation and believe that the designation is still unnecessary.

“The welcome indication in the advice to Ministers is that they will now be advised to place no new restrictions on the valuable creel fishery in the Sound of Barra. Demersal trawling and dredging could be allowed to continue if they occur away from the most sensitive areas of habitat.

“I appreciate that (very regrettably) the process that exists under European legislation allows only a discussion of scientific, rather than economic questions. However, it is clear in Barra that the above facts call into question the necessity for the any mSAC to be in place, certainly in large areas of the proposed site, as there is little evidence of traditional economic activity in Barra harming viable habitats.

“I recognise the limited scope of this consultation process, but it must be remembered how important economically the sound of Barra is to the human population of the islands.

“As local MSP I would like to stress the strong feeling of the community that a case has not been made for this designation, and that the views of my constituents on this matter are fairly unambiguous.”