SCOTTISH Conservatives claim the SNP Scottish Government to ‘ransom’ in a dispute over landings.
The Scottish Conservatives have written to Fishing Minister Fergus Ewing demanding that he release the 12% mackerel quota currently being retained by the Scottish Government.
The letter comes after it came to the attention of Conservative Fishing Spokesperson Finlay Carson that the Scottish Government had taken the unprecedented decision to withhold 12% of the Scottish mackerel quota amidst disputes with the industry over the amount of fish being landed in Scotland’s ports.
The Scottish Conservatives have branded this as a “disproportionate” move that holds fishermen to ransom and Mr Carson said: “Without quota, fishermen cannot catch any fish, and if they cannot catch any fish, they cannot make a living. Withholding part of the mackerel quota, the most important fishery in Scotland, only seeks to play with the livelihoods of hard-working Scottish fishermen.
“This is an entirely disproportionate decision by the Scottish Government. Fergus Ewing is apparently intent on achieving his landings targets at any cost.
“While I fully support the ambition to see more fish landed in Scotland’s ports, holding fishermen to ransom is not the way to achieve this. Instead, we need a government willing to work with the industry to look at why so many catches are being landed elsewhere and what can be done to make it more appealing for fishermen to land in Scotland.
“I am deeply concerned by the way in which Fergus Ewing has chosen to treat Scotland’s fishermen. I would urge him to reconsider this reckless move and urgently release the final 12% of the 2017 mackerel quota.”