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.”
Concern Over Lack of Scottish Marine Fisheries Protection Vessels
You can view John Finnie’s question at 38.50 if you don’t want to watch the whole video
John Finnie is right every fishing vessel working in Scottish waters should be obliged by Law to have a ‘Tamper Proof Tracker’ which must be switched-on at all times and if not then skipper/boat must be subject to massive fines and gear confiscation. Repeat offences should see the boat being confiscated.
Fishermen want pristine fishing grounds with plenty of catch but they must play by the rules. It was only a few weeks ago the English and some Peterhead registered boats went on a ‘Legal’ pirate fishing spree in the Bay of Seine where the French Government do not allow their own boats to fish until November. The net result of their spree was that the seabed was torn-up and damaged.
Marine and fish stocks are becoming ever more important in conservation management , any and all available means of protection MUST be implemented to assist these goals . It is morally repugnant that individuals and companies are more fixated on greed and profit rather than the preservation of their industry .