Fergusson slams cockling trial end

Following the announcement that the Marine Scotland led Cockle Fishery Trials on the Solway Firth had been brought to a premature end, Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson said: “I was devastated to hear that this trial had been halted after just a week’s fishing. By all accounts that week had been very successful with some 22 tonnes of good quality cockles being harvested. However, sadly the processing contractor has gone into sequestration and the trial has been brought to an end. Marine Scotland say that the trial is over, but I do not believe that draconian step is necessary, as I am reliably informed that another local contractor is ready and willing to take over that part of the process.

“A truly massive effort went into putting this management model together, and it has involved the formation of a group of local fishermen who have shown enormous patience as the bureaucracy involved in planning the trial dragged the process out last year. The re-start of the trial last month gave these local fishermen great hope, and that hope has now been well and truly dashed.

“Given that a new contractor stands ready to begin operations, I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs calling on him to intervene to ensure that the trials are continued until their planned conclusion, when the original aims of the trial can be properly analysed and evaluated. If that does not happen then a massive amount of hard work and an even greater amount of goodwill on all sides will have been for nothing.”