THE Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust (SIFT) has welcomed the creation of a new federation body representing the interests of creel fishermen.
Says a spokesperson: “For centuries, fishermen have harvested the inshore waters of Scotland for lobster, crab and langoustines using creels. Whole rural communities have relied on the bounty generated by the sustainable fishery.
“Now, as changes to the industry threaten to undermine their way of life creel fishermen from around the country have banded together to create one voice to lobby government.”
Charles Millar, executive director of the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust, said: “The creation of the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation is a positive and timely development. It provides the creelers who represent the majority of Scottish commercial fishermen with a national voice for the first time.
“It means their interests will be better represented in fisheries policy making. To that end it will help to balance the interests of the traditional and more sustainable fisheries with the other forms of fishery going on in Scottish waters.”
The spokesperson added: “Historically, traditional creel fishermen have been poorly represented when it comes to policy making on the future of the industry. However, the newly-formed Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation’s primary objective will be to promote fishing practices which are sustainable and help secure future supplies of lobster, crab and langoustine to meet increasing demand.
“Recent Marine Scotland statistics demonstrate how important the inshore creel sector is to rural communities. Creel boats represent 74 per cent of the inshore fleet and generate 49 per cent of the annual inshore turnover, some £38.1m.”
Mr Millar continued: “What we’ve had to date is a strong emphasis on fisheries policy towards the interests of the mobile gear fisheries such as trawling and dredging while the static gear fishermen have been overlooked.
“The launch of the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation will help to balance the interests of everyone involved in the fishing industry and help coastal communities around the country.”
The Sustainable Fisheries Trust is a Scottish-based charity which promotes the sustainable management of Scotland’s inshore waters. It is calling for the creation of three mile trawling and dredging exclusion zone along the coast of the Clyde to help dwindling fish stocks recover.
The charity represents a coalition of community and maritime interest groups working to replace unfair, short-termist fisheries policies with a mix of sustainable and resilient practices which support existing jobs and create new ones. Its aims are to assist the return of a more lucrative, sustainable and mixed economy featuring revived fin-fisheries, recreational sea angling, traditional shell fish creeling and scallop diving as well as leisure activities which rely on a healthy sea such as wildlife tourism.
More information about the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust is available from www.sift-uk.org.
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Contact: Charles Millar