MEP meets with pelagic fishermen

Conservative MEP for Scotland, Ian Duncan, visited Peterhead recently to speak to concerned pelagic fishermen and processors.

Mr Duncan stopped by the Peterhead Fishermen’s Mission on Wednesday, October 29, for discussions with the chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, Ian Gatt, and chairman of the Scottish Pelagic Processors Association, Ian McFadden.

Speaking to the Buchanie, Mr Duncan said: “Peterhead is the centre of the white fish industry, not only in Scotland but in Europe.

“It’s the single most important port in terms of landings, value and it is a vital resource for Scotland.

“I sit on the fisheries committee in the European parliament and I’m up here to listen to people, hear what their problems are and to make sure that I am able to respond to those when I get back to Brussels.”

Before his arrival in Peterhead, Mr Duncan had been in Shetland as he explained: “I’ve just flown down after meeting again with fishing leaders up there.

“Here I’m talking to the pelagic fishermen and the pelagic processors for obvious reasons, again they are impacted upon by the Russian ban, the situation in terms of the Icelandic overfishing of the mackerel quota, and also on the 1st of January 2015, we are going to find the discard ban coming into reality for pelagic fishermen.

“I am on the committee trying to make the underpinning legality of that functional.

“At the moment the risk is that the ban comes in on the 1st, there’s no legal basis for it and the reality will be that fishermen will not, therefore, be clear how they are able to obey the law so that will be one of the challenges.”

Mr Duncan also met with members of the Peterhead Port Authority and was delighted to view their plans for the harbour.

He said: “Their development proposals are extraordinarily interesting for their new fish market and the new deeper berths.”

He added: “When I worked with the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation some ten years ago, people said it was in a near terminal decline but here we are now talking a multi-million pound investment in white fish.

“This is where fishing should be, a sustainable industry employing people, producing high quality fish which goes straight to the supermarket.”