Commenting on the announcement by the Scottish Government today that it has submitted proposals to the EU for five new Special Areas of Conservation, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said:
“The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has participated fully in the workshops and discussions leading to the submission of these Special Areas of Conservation.
“The very fact that these special marine features are still there highlights the fact that interaction with fishing has not been a problem. We support the process of sensible protection and as the principal stakeholder will always continue to engage in the process.
“However, in some of the areas, particularly the East Rockall Bank, the boundaries are incorrect, despite the fishing industry supplying precise, detailed and verifiable information on where the features to be protected actually are. This has led to the inclusion in the Government proposal of areas where there are no notable marine features.
“This is a disappointing element of the outcome, but the crunch time for us will come when practical management measures and restrictions are set. The Cabinet Secretary has promised stakeholder involvement - we will be looking for protection of features to stand alongside proper protection of sustainable production of food from the sea.”