West Coast Lobsters Now on Agenda

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Thursday May 18 2017

Minimum Landing Sizes for west coast lobsters now on agenda at Cabinet Secretary's meeting with fishermen.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Fergus Ewing is set to meet with fishermen next week and has assured Skye MSP Kate Forbes that minimum landing sizes (MLS) for lobsters will be on the agenda, after she raised the changes to MLS in the Holyrood chamber.

Following a Marine Scotland consultation last year, new guidelines are being introduced making the MLS 90mm for the west coast (excluding the Solway Firth), whereas in the rest of the Scotland the limit is 87mm.

Changes are being implemented over a two-year period, and on the west coast there will be an 88mm target for year one, and 90mm target for year two.

The changes, which could potentially disadvantage west coast fishermen, was raised by constituency MSP Kate Forbes during today’s (18 May) General Questions at the Scottish Parliament.

Afterwards, the Skye MSP said:

“I am pleased to represent the concerns of Skye fishermen in Holyrood and even more pleased that the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing is meeting them.

“I know that Fergus Ewing is very keen to support our fishing industry and that is demonstrated again by his willingness to put the issue on the agenda next week.

“I recognise their concerns about the potential competitive disadvantage of different Minimum Landing Sizes for lobsters on the west and east coasts.

“I hope that we’ll be able to find a way of mitigating any negative impact to the fishing industry, as it’s already very challenging to make a profit in the fishing industry.”

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