FOLLOWING a meeting to determine the future of cockle fishing on the Solway held on Thursday in Dumfries, MSP Alex Fergusson has welcomed the pledge by Marine Scotland and local fishermen to further the cause.
Stakeholders met in the Easterbrook Hall to discuss a way forward for the cockle industry and to tackle illegal cockling on the dangerous shoreline.
The MSP said: “For the first time since the campaign to get the local cockle fishery opened again, I now feel that there is a real possibility of doing so. Marine Scotland proved their commitment to opening a fishery at this meeting and I felt that the contributions made by the substantial number of local fishermen who were present were very positive. Marine Scotland will call another meeting in the near future at which they will put forward a proposed model structure or structures for the management of a local fishery for further discussion.
“There is clearly a commitment towards a high level of local input into any management structure and that is very welcome as I believe it is a prerequisite of success. The other important factor was a determination that a future fishery would have the aim of sustainability at its very core, and that is also vitally important if a future fishery is to be of lasting benefit to our local economy.
“This meeting would suggest that a sustainable local fishery, largely managed by local fishermen, is no longer just a pipe dream. I look forward to further meetings to achieve that aim, and a possible opening of a local fishery in 2013.”