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13 April 2017

North East Politicians Call for Watch Men Rethink at Macduff Port

North East politicians have called on the Chief Executive of Aberdeenshire Council to reconsider proposed plans to axe night watchmen from Macduff Port.

Both Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford and Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson have written to Jim Savege about the issue after concerns were raised by a number of groups and constituents.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford said the move would be a “retrograde step” by the local authority.

Meanwhile Mr Stevenson said removal of the watchmen would “undermine” progress made in recent years.

It comes after proposals were put forward to replace the night watchmen at Macduff Port with CCTV.

The issue has already raised concern from the Scottish White Fish Association (SWFA) which represents more than 1,400 fishermen across Scotland.

The harbour currently has two watchmen who monitor vessels.

In a letter to Mr Savage, Dr Whiteford said while she understood Aberdeenshire Council was looking to make cost savings, it would be a “retrograde step” in the “continued revival of Macduff as a fishing port.”

Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“I have written to Mr Savege to ask for this matter to be reconsidered.

“Macduff Port has gone through a number of transformational changes and it would be a step backwards to implement CCTV rather than retain the watchmen.

“We must not risk all the commendable work which has already taken place to help make necessary improvement to the region.”

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Due to legislation surrounding landings at Macduff, there has been a significant increase to the effect that January and February landings exceeded the landings of the entire previous financial year.

“From all the information I have been given, it is clear that removal of the watchmen would have a negative effect on the use of the harbour as boats no longer have the facility to speak to the watch regarding the available draft or for assistance in tying up.

“It would be particularly unhelpful if the positive progress made in the last couple of years by the council in developing the harbour were to be undermined by the removal of the watch facility.”
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