Monumental challenges ahead for Fisheries Minister, says SFF

Following the election results and with the new Scottish Cabinet team to be announced this week, it looks likely the fishing industry will see the return of Richard Lochhead as Fisheries Minister.

Commenting on the likely composition of the new Scottish Government, Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive said: “If Mr Lochhead is chosen to carry on, and the First Minister is on record as noting that all things being equal he will, we will have the advantage of continuity.

“The complexity of international fisheries negotiations, with the monumental problems created by Iceland and the Faroe Islands in catching mackerel and the imminent announcement of the details of Common Fisheries Policy reform with its expected radical effects on the Scottish industry will not have to be dealt with by a new person. Furthermore, Mr Lochhead already has an established relationship with UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon and with the vital main players in Brussels.

“The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has requested the earliest possible meeting with the Minister once appointed. The first and over-riding issue is to reset the vision for Scottish fishing. This heritage industry, with its access to a wonderful food resource, needs a clear picture from Government about what size and structure will best serve Scotland and the communities it supports. The SFF has already offered to play its part in a renewed team approach, working with the Scottish Government. Only then can the right decisions for fishing on policy be made in Edinburgh, London and Brussels. The Fisheries Minister in this new government will be presented with a big difficult and job and it is essential that the right strategy is put in place as soon as possible.”