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10 March 2017

MSP welcomes stronger assurances over fisheries’ landings target

The Scottish Government has given stronger assurances over action being taken to set a fisheries’ landings target.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson asked the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing what impact the move could have on fishing communities.

Work has been ongoing throughout the fishing industry to encourage voluntary landings in the increase of sea fish.

A particular focus has been placed on the number of pelagic sea fish being landed outwith Scotland.

In the recently completed winter fishing season, the Government sought a voluntary increase in landings of mackerel into Scotland.

Mr Stevenson called on Mr Ewing to explain what impact the voluntary increase in landings would have and what actions were currently being taken to implement it.

He was told there had been “very little progress” in the most recent fishing season with the number of pelagic fish landed into Scotland and overseas remaining “broadly the same” as in recent years.

Mr Ewing said:

“The Government is now considering what further steps might be appropriate to establish a Scottish landings target for Scottish fishing vessels, and in this is consulting with a wide range of relevant representatives.

“The Government considers that a Scottish landings target, successfully established and leading to increased landings into Scotland, will help to maintain and potentially to increase employment and connected economic activity in coastal and island communities in Scotland.”

Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, commented:

“I welcome the recent efforts by the Scottish Government to increase the volume in landings in the most recent winter fishing season.

“An increase in landings would further support businesses in the North East and could boost exports as well as jobs.

“It is reassuring to hear from the Cabinet Secretary that the Scottish Government is looking at what further steps might be appropriate to establish a target.

“I know stakeholders from outwith the industry would wish to be involved in such discussions and I look forward to helping progress this matter further.”
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