A Duns-born man whose family has fished out of Eyemouth for four generations has risen to the top of his profession.
Ross Dougal has been elected as the new President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) at its annual general meeting.
Previously the Vice President of the SFF and the Chairman of the Fishing Vessel Agents & Owners Association (Scotland) Ltd, Mr Dougal comes from a well-known Eyemouth fishing family and has worked in a wide variety of senior positions in the vessel management and fish selling sectors.
He succeeds Alan Coghill who had been President since 2010.
Mr Dougal said: “I’m delighted to have been elected as President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and would like to thank my predecessor Alan Coghill for his hard work in representing our fishermen during some incredibly challenging periods.
“Of course, many challenges still remain.
“Most notably the forthcoming discards ban which could prove devastating for our industry if it is implemented without careful thought and flexibility.”
Mr Dougal feels that inordinate pressure is being put on fishermen by the possible change to the law.
There are fears that they could end up being obliged to land unwanted and even inedible species.
Strict European Union quotas on which fish species could be landed were introduced in an attempt to preserve fish stocks.
But this led to the practice of throwing back dead fish which were not marketable.
Mr Douglas continued: “You would have to land everything.
“And in reality, you just wouldn’t have quotas for everything, because not everything is marketable.”
However, he went on to be optimistic about the
“I am determined to work hard on behalf of our members to help ensure a prosperous future for our industry.”
Replacing Mr Dougal as Vice President is Alex Wiseman, the Chairman of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA). Mr Wiseman is a working pelagic skipper who has been Chairman of the SPFA for the last six years.
Bertie Armstrong, Chief Executive of the SFF, welcomed the change in personnel.
He said: “We welcome Ross and Alex to their new roles.
“I know that they will prove to be strong leaders of the Federation in what promises to be a very challenging period ahead.”