Crunch year ahead for fishing industry

Scotland is about to enter a crunch and potentially historic year for its fishing industry, Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead told the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation last week.

Speaking in Edinburgh at the first Federation dinner since the Government was re-elected in May, Mr Lochhead listed a whole raft of events taking place in 2012 which will shape the future of the country’s valuable fishing industry and promote its hugely successful seafood sector.

These events include: the negotiation of EU Common Fisheries Policy Policy (CFP) reform; the cod recovery plan being reviewed and changed; the World Fisheries Congress coming to Edinburgh in May and the promotion of Scottish Seafood worldwide.

At the dinner, Mr Lochhead also announced a £12.3m package of European grants which will help to ensure the infrastructure which supports the fishing fleet is fit for purpose, reduce discards, improve safety and add value to the supply chain, all of which will help to provide an economic boost for fishing communities throughout Scotland.

Commenting on the grants, he said: “We have continued to strongly support sea fisheries and the money will help to ensure that the infrastructure which supports the fleet is fit for purpose, aid safety training, gear trials to reduce discards and add value to the fisheries supply chain through improved processing, training and marketing. It will also provide a welcome economic boost to our fishing communities.”