SNP Councillor for Dee Ward Tommy Jacques recently called for a meeting with Marine Scotland to discuss with fishermen and processers the consultation document on new proposals.
Plans are afoot to introduce restrictions on the minimum size of scallops landed in Scottish ports and the number of dredges a vessel can deploy within Scottish waters.
The meeting, which took place on the 23rd March in Kirkcudbright, was chaired by Cllr. Jacques and organised by Pam Taylor of the Solway Firth Partnership.
Cllr Jacques said: “It had been intended that the meeting would be with local fishermen and processers but such was the interest that of the 27 who attended, several were representatives from the industry throughout Scotland. One representative from Marine Scotland attended the meeting along with other local councillors and Aileen McLeod MSP
“The industry representatives and skippers were able to question Marine Scotland and seek clarification on the many concerns surrounding the proposals. A major concern is the economic impact of the proposed regulations and the lack of scientific justification for any changes.
“One reason given for the change was to bring the Scottish regulations into line with English regulations that have in fact not been finalised. Also the Scottish proposed minimum landing size for scallops would not be in line with the minimum landing size throughout English waters.
“The consultation closes on the 16th April and I think it is absolutely vital that anyone with an interest in this industry responds to it. Kirkcudbright is the 3rd ranking fishing port on the west coast of the UK, a fact that is not widely known.
“Scallop fishing contributes by far the largest share of this valuable economic activity which supports considerable local employment. I think it is very important that the Council, with its role in promoting economic development, recognises the role that the fishing industry is already playing in our region’s economy.
“Recognition also really has to be given to the valuable support that is given to the industry by Pam Taylor and the Solway Firth Partnership.”