Local MSP John Finnie, Scottish Greens has called on the Scottish Government to mandate, “robust, tamper proof, vessel tracking” following reports of illegal scallop dredging at Gairloch in Wester Ross.
John Finnie highlighted the call from Open Seas to introduce the vessel tracking technology at First Ministers Questions, and the First Minister advised that the government would give consideration to the proposal.
Mr Finnie has raised concerns with the Scottish Government over the capacity of Marine Scotland’s compliance fleet repeatedly this year, most recently with the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.
John Finnie said:
“I’ve repeatedly raised concerns with the Scottish Government regarding Marine Scotland’s capacity. Around 20% of Scotland’s vast marine area is designated as part of the marine protection network, yet with a fleet of just three compliance vessels, it is clear that Marine Scotland does not have the capacity to adequately manage Scotland’s seas.
“Robust vessel tracking technology would greatly assist in ensuring compliance and I am pleased that the First Minister indicated this is a step the Scottish Government is willing to consider when I questioned her on the matter. It is vital that we provide our compliance officials with all the tools necessary to adequately protect Scotland’s waters.”
You can view John Finnie’s question at 38.50 if you don’t want to watch the whole video